Feather plucking

MenachemEliyahu

Chirping
Nov 22, 2020
39
58
79
Florida
I have three brown leghorns. Their names are Gladys, Chickaletta and Meatball. Recently I noticed that Gladys and Meatball are getting a bare spot at the base of their tails and I observed Chickaletta casually plucking their feathers. For the most part they are quiet. They only time they really make any noise is when they're laying. Gladys in particular.

The chickens are approximately 7 months old and I get between 2 to 3 eggs a day.
The run is about 8'x8' and I feed them Kalmbach Layer pellets. It has 16% crude protein.

I am currently working on expanding the run area so that they could forage more. I thought the Florida grass would be able to keep up with them, but the current run area is bare.

I did a search prior to posting and I have a few questions.

Is this normal dominance behavior? Before this I had no real experience with chickens. My grandparents had free range chickens, but I was really to young to know what was going on.

Are they getting enough protein from the feed? I'm not sure they're really finding anything anymore unless some hapless lizard strays in.

Would extending the run change their current behavior?

Thanks in advance.
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
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New Jersey
:welcome Not dominance behavior. Feather plucking is frequently a result of overcrowding/boredom, but protein deficiency may also be a causative factor. Try boosting their diet with protein - cat food, canned fish, etc. Increased run space may help. Do an on site search on Pin Less Peepers. They can be used to break the habit and removed once feathers are regrown.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
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16% is considered minimal protein, so a protein boost may help.

Boredom is likely a factor as well, since you mentioned the run is bare. Foraging can help keep them busy, as can the addition of clutter/obstacles (https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/ ), which can also help provide hiding spots if one bird is harassing others.
 

Orcanut

Songster
Aug 11, 2017
66
36
108
16% is considered minimal protein, so a protein boost may help.

Boredom is likely a factor as well, since you mentioned the run is bare. Foraging can help keep them busy, as can the addition of clutter/obstacles (https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/ ), which can also help provide hiding spots if one bird is harassing others.
I have gone above and beyond to keep my hens from getting bored. (Seriously, over the top). And they still pluck and peck at each other, but Pinless Peepers have worked amazingly well. I appreciate ANY ideas and suggestions to replace or improve or simply swap out for something I currently have. Thanks for sharing your ideas!
 

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