Feather Plucking Rooster

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by fischer, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. fischer

    fischer Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 6, 2008
    Wisconsin
    I have 8 hens and 1 rooster (2 Brown Leghorn, 2 Silver Wyandotte, 2 Rhode Island Red, 2 Araucana and 1 Araucana rooster). One of my Araucana hens has always been "picked" on but lately bot Araucana and Silver Wyandottes have a nice bare plucked patch on their back at the base of their tail. I spent some time today watching. The rooster is the main culprit. He just picks someone out and hammers them. One of the Brown Leghorns is doing the same thing, but maybe not quite as bad.

    We raised all the chicks from day old. They have just started laying and now they are plucking each other. They get "LayMaker" for feed and we scatter cracked corn everyday. Started throwing them table scraps and sunflower seed today and picked up some Avia Charge for the water. They have 32 square feet inside with 2 elevated 4' nesting boxes. The outside area may be a bit small, they have 50 square feet outside but can move in and out at will.

    We are going to "Vicks" the bare chickens tonight in an attempt to give them some relief and deter this behavior. What is my rooster doing? Is he just mean? I split him off from the hens for awhile so I could observe the hens by themselves. Boy was he TICKED!!

    Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. mainely-chick

    mainely-chick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 12, 2007
    Maine
    fischer
    I don't have a rooster and I am having the same issue.
    There are alot of reasons and remedies all over this site.
    Diet, protein, boredom, space, heat, lighting, etc etc

    I have tried almost everything short of beak clipping. I will
    be watching other responses to your inquiry. Sorry I cannot help but wanted you to know you are not alone.
     
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Feather plucking/picking and pecking is two different things.

    Beak clipping will not stop feather plucking. Beak trimming is also cruel as they can no longer eat very well, preen or catch insects and worms.
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I moved this from chicken behaviors and egg laying and forum feed back, to emergiencies diseases and cures for hopefully more views.

    My guess is some of the intital damage you see by the base of the tail is the rooster mating with your hens and thus tearing out feathers in the process. He may see these new pin feathers and bald spots and pick on them when you are looking. Increasing the protein content in their diet may help, such as getting a bag of 20% protein layer supplement or game bird feed. Catfood in moderation may also help.
     
  5. fischer

    fischer Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 6, 2008
    Wisconsin
    Thanks for moving my post. I have been watching and reading here for about a week. Today is my first post and was unsure how and where to put it. I think I have it figured out. We'll see!
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Welcome aboard!
     
  7. Vikkisrooster

    Vikkisrooster Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 17, 2007
    I'm having the same problem...the hens are tearing out the feathers on the roos backside.I wondered if it could be a mating thing or not?? Maybe someone will help us out!
    Vikkisrooster
     
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If the hens are eating roo feathers, increasing protein in their diet and adding black sunflower seeds for the methionine may be able to help out with that problem. If they are crowded or bored due to the weather, giving them a distraction can also be beneficial.
     
  9. Buster

    Buster Back to Work

    If the rooster is new or has been separated for a while before being reintroduced, they may pick on him for that too. My hens almost killed my rooster in one day after I had separated him for 2 1/2 weeks. What has been said here is all good- lack of protein and boredom cause a lot of pecking.
     
  10. Vikkisrooster

    Vikkisrooster Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 17, 2007
    Thanks for the info!We do give them some sunflower seeds but honestly wasn't sure how much I could give them daily.
     

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