Feather Picking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by simpsoncj, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. simpsoncj

    simpsoncj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am getting tired of dealing with feather picking. After the winter is over and moulting has stopped and I can tell which hens will get their feathers back and which won't, I am thinking of culling those that are bare naked due to feather picking and only keeping those that look good still. But does anyone know if it is possible to stop it? What might have started it to begin with? I have a very large hen house with a very large run and mostly my hens were free ranging during the day but still the feather picking began and once it starts it seems impossible to stop. Has anyone else ever had to take such drastic measures?
    CJ
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Feed them some meat!!
    ....or other animal protein.

    Feathers are 90% protein if they are eating them because of a nutrition deficiency rather than bad pecking order habits.....they may need more animal protein in their diet.

    Usually it's the ones with nice feathers that are doing the picking, not the bare ones.
     
  3. simpsoncj

    simpsoncj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your reply. I know it makes sense that it is the good looking ones are doing the picking, but I have been observing them and I really think it has gone beyond the normal now and into a bad habit. It seems almost all of them are doing it. :( I do think that when I was free ranging them they ate less of the organic feed I make available to them and perhaps that is when they started needing more protein? I like the idea of giving them more protein. I will definitely give that a try. I have another chicken coop I can put some of them in. I just don't know what the likely hood of them stopping is at this point? Any idea?
    CJ
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nope sorry, never really dealt with it....tho have read alot about it.

    More animal protein seems the best solution that I've seen....all those things like 'no pick' spray seem so much snake oil.

    If it is a bad behavioral pattern, not sure what you can do other than soup.
     
  5. simpsoncj

    simpsoncj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, that's what I thought too.
    I have used the blue coat once. It is messy and not very realistic at all when you have so many hens involved with so much exposed skin.
    But I will start feeding them animal protein.
    CJ
     
  6. Plumbersmom

    Plumbersmom New Egg

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    Its smells bad, its messy, but it works!!
    Just brush on the area that's getting plucked at, doesn't take alot
    The bad chickens get a taste of it and they stop
    You can get it at Tractor Supply
    We also keep chicken blocks in all our pens just in case they are lacking anything.
     
  7. simpsoncj

    simpsoncj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. What are chicken blocks?
     
  8. Plumbersmom

    Plumbersmom New Egg

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  9. simpsoncj

    simpsoncj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Got it. Thank you.
     

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