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Feather Picking

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lizardboy55, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. lizardboy55

    lizardboy55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello all!

    I have one hen who has a bare bum and saddle, she's been that way for a little over a year now. Every time she grows in new feathers (sporadically) the other hens peck them out. I was hoping she would molt because then she would grow them all back at once and it would be easier to manage but she hasn't yet. Do any of you have any methods to help her grow them back? She is about two and a half and never went through a molt. Could that be because she's missing so many feathers? Is there a way to make her go through one or grow them all back at once. I don't want to stress her out too much. Her sister (of the same breed) is going through her second molt now. I just don't want the poor girl to freeze this winter. Any ideas I will try. I have her separated right now and it's causing the other hens to fight due to the lack of space I believe so I'd like to put her back in with the flock.

    I thank you in advance!
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    How much protein are you giving them? I'm guessing that you may have a protein issue, and most likely a lack of space issue. Either one alone, and both together more so, can cause feather picking, even to the point of cannibalism. Once this habit starts, it may be impossible to break. How many birds do you have. What are the dimensions of your coop : L X W X H, and what are the dimensions of your run. How much protein is in their feed?
     
  3. lizardboy55

    lizardboy55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure of the demotions off the top of my head but when I bought the coop they said it fits nine comfortably and we only have six.

    I give them their layer mix as well as cat food, dry oats and otster shells mixed together every morning. What else could I give them for extra protein? She is at the bottom of the pecking order as well and they only peck her, could it just be a pecking order thing?
     
  4. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you seen those "chicken saddles" that chickens wear to protect their feathers from roosters? Maybe something like that would give her feathers a chance to grow without the other birds getting to them first?
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    You can never go by the manufacturer's statement about how many birds will fit in their coop. They grossly misrepresent their products. The MINIMUM recommendation for a back yard flock is 4 sq. feet of floor space per bird in the coop, and 10 sq. feet of ground in the run. This is with a stable flock. If you ever upset the pecking order, ever add more birds, ever add chicks, or ever have a rooster, IMO more space is needed. Check out the protein of the cat food. Layer is usually 16%. Oats are 9 - 12% protein. So, when you add an other product to the layer, UNLESS it is higher than 16%, you are cutting their protein. Any time there is feather eating going on, the first and most important thing to do is get them on a higher protein diet. You should aim for about 20%. You might want to switch them to a Multi-flock pellet. Eliminate the oats from their diet. You can continue the cat food if it is higher than 16%. (Is it dry or canned?) Most dry cat food is around 30%. You'll have to play with the numbers to get the right protein for them. I can't stress enough how important it is to provide them with enough room. Imagine a kid on a very small playground who gets beat up by a gang of thugs every single day. This is what your hen is dealing with. In a small coop/run, she has absolutely no where to go to escape the torment.
     
  6. lizardboy55

    lizardboy55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes it is dry cat food. The coop is the correct size. I wouldn't say she is being tormented as they all seem calm, nobody is acting like their scared or stressed.

    I'll take the oats out of their diet. What exactly is a multi-flock pellet?
     
  7. lizardboy55

    lizardboy55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is a really good idea! I'll have to give it a try! Thank you!
     
  8. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lizardboy, the multi flock pellet should be sold at the store where you buy the layer feed, probably on the same aisle. It will say Multi Flock or Mixed Flock on it. I can't get pellets, I can only get crumbles where I'm at.
     
  9. lizardboy55

    lizardboy55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens eat crumbles now so I'd stick to them. I'm just curious as to what exactly it consists of. When I get it I'll get crumbles.
     
  10. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I compared the labels in the feed store between the Multi Flock (actually I think the one I got was called All Flock) and the layer feed. The layer feed has more calcium in it, and was 16% protein. The All Flock had 20% protein. Feather Fixer had 18%. My hens are molting so I wanted to give them a higher protein feed, and got the All Flock instead of Feather Fixer. I'm on my first bag of it so I haven't seen any results yet.
     

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