Feather plucking or eating?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by fishmanwill, Dec 9, 2015.

  1. fishmanwill

    fishmanwill Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 16, 2014
    We are having a problem with chickens missing their tail feathers. It is the main tail feathers right at the base and it is sometimes the "fluff feathers" under the tail. They are plucked out and missing. I currently have several chickens with missing tails completely even 2 roosters. We had several hens that went through molt and we're pretty again and were missing tail feathers today.

    We have been giving them free choice of 20% flock raiser crumble and the 16% layer crumble for food. They prefer the 20%. We have been doing this for 6 months. They are free ranged from 8am to sunset during the week, locked up on the weekends. They have free choice of oyster shells. They get a small amount of stratch 2 or 3 times a week, but not much. They get the leftover fruits, vegetables, and bread a few times a week.

    They have plenty of space in the coop and run, they have branches and stuff to climb on in the run. They have 5 acres to free range on.

    I do not know which hen or hens are doing it. I suspect one because she has nice feathers and then the next day she is missing some, so I just can't tell who is doing it. Now there are more hens molting, so it is harder to tell. What else can we do or how can I found out which hen or hens are doing it? How can we stop it? Please help.

    We have 20 hens and 2 roosters in the pen and coop with a mix of breeds like barred rocks, Easter edgers, marans, olive edgers, rir, etc.

    Thank you.

  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Shazam Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Sounds like you are doing everything you can to prevent feather pulling and eating. I would spend some time quietly observing your flock to see if you can tell what exactly is going on and if you can identify the problem. Your set up sounds right, so you need to know when and where it's happening, in the evening at roost time is common, and not enough feeding stations could be another problem.
    1 person likes this.
  3. fishmanwill

    fishmanwill Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 16, 2014
    Thank you for the suggestion on more roosting space. We have since added more roosts almost doubling it. We will see. Thank you for the help.
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    I am going to guess that you have de-pluming mites or else your birds are suffering from a low protein diet.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015

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