Feather picking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Patoot, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. Patoot

    Patoot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 4 girls. I've had them all since August. I noticed one has a feather picking problem. I can't tell if she is doing it or if the others are picking on her. It's on her back. It's not bald and you can't see skin yet, but it's quite thin and I'm not sure what to do. Tomorrow I am going to keep an eye on them and see if I can tell if it's her or the others doing it. I have never seen them picking on each other and when I go out to see them, they all come running so it's hard to see them doing their normal thing.

    What can I do? I worry she will get cold if this continues. I will be leaving for 10 days in December too so I hope to figure this out before I go. Poor girl. So if she's doing it, what causes it and what can I do? If the others are doing it, what can I do?

    I should add that they are free roaming in my backyard and have a diet of layer feed. They get BOSS, spinach, raisins, fruits, etc as treats, but the staple is layer feed. They are all about 7-8 months old.

    Thanks for any help.

    Bree
     
  2. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

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    Hmm Bree [​IMG] your feeding them great food-they free range-no roos but have you wormed or checked for parasites??? mites/lice could be the issue and shes picking the spots where they are congregating out of irratation... Check for that first-check near their vents first-if she has them they will be crawling around the warmest places vents-under wings etc...
     
  3. Patoot

    Patoot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll check, but they've been wormed. Thanks.

    Bree
     
  4. Patoot

    Patoot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think she might be doing it, but I'm not sure. What can I do?

    Bree
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    You could put a saddle/apron on her; that would protect the area - not allow her to pick at that area. Look on the BYC auction link - they're very reasonable.
    Do you know if she's eating the feathers, or are you finding a bunch of feathers around their areas (possible molting)??? If she's eating them, you could try mixing in a bit of game bird feed or flock raiser w/their layer feed. You mentioned boss and spinach, so protein is probably not the issue, but it couldn't hurt. So you definitely saw no mites or lice around the areas sonew mentioned???
     
  6. Patoot

    Patoot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll check again. I couldn't get a great look because she was not happy about the assessment at all. I'll look into the aprons. Hopefully I can get one in time before we leave for Christmas break.

    Thanks.

    Bree
     
  7. Patoot

    Patoot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, we grabbed her last night and really looked at her. No bugs of any kind. The feather are not actually picked. They are broken off. So there are no feather missing from her body/skin, but the ends of all the feathers near her back are all gone. I don't know what that means. However, here's some new information. She laid her first egg yesterday. We discovered it last night in the coop when we examined her. Could she have been plucking the feather tips off too make a nest?

    Bree
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Doubtful...most seem to pluck the downy feathers from their belly area when going broody. Since they're not actually plucked, but just kind of "chopped off," they'll probably stay that way until she molts. If you or someone in your family is good at sewing, there are many patterns for aprons on-line too. But if you PM'd someone from the auction, I'll bet they'll send you one right out, within a few days.
     
  9. Patoot

    Patoot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, the other littler one is showing the same issue now. What the heck? As soon as they see me, they come running so I can't really watch them to see who is doing what. Ugh.

    Bree
     
  10. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    This weekend I'd take a chair and sit in the coop (or outside if you have a small coop) and just observe them for a bit to see what's going on...
     

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