Feather picking

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bpaul16, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. bpaul16

    bpaul16 Just Hatched

    Jul 27, 2016
    I'm having an ongoing issue with feather picking. I have all hens, and about 3 of them are having the feathers on their bottoms picked out. I've increased feed to 20% protein and also given cat food. In addition to laying pellets, I give about 3 handfuls of scratch every day.
    Any suggestions to help stop the picking? I don't know what else I can do..
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2012
    Conway SC
    I have had a few hens that would Not stop picking the feathers out of the others. Having many different pens I have moved the Feather pecker to a different coop and that helped because the hens that were in the other pen did not put up with the new hen pecking their feathers and would kick Her butt. I have also put the feather pecking hens in jail for about a month and that helped. Jail is small pens, where each chicken is by theirself with just food and water.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017

  3. Simple.....
    Your either too hot, too crowded, short of fresh air, lacking protein in the diet or your coop is too brightly lit.......

    Relook over the management of the flock......

  4. Layers do best at a temp of 70F.....Cut down on treats as those deplete the the over all protein intake......

  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    How big is your set up? What breeds? How long have they been getting higher protein? Sometimes it becomes a hard habit to break as well.
  6. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    How many chickens all together in your flock? How large is the coop and run?

    Have you observed the behavior of the flock over the course of an hour or two to identify who the pickers are? This would be an important first step in addressing the problem. Identifying the time of day that the behavior is occurring will also help.

    You may be able to solve the problem by installing pinless peepers on the culprit(s). Protein deficiency is not the only, or even the biggest, cause of feather picking. Even if dietary deficiencies were the original cause, feather picking can continue as a habit even after the diet issues have been addressed.

    Interrupting the behavior can be as important as improved diet. You can interrupt behavior by isolating the culprit, by changing behavior by installing a vision limiting device such as pinless peepers, and even trying aversion therapy by hollering at and poking the picker when they go after a victim.

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