Feather pulling and protein question (Update on page 3)

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chickiegrrl, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. chickiegrrl

    chickiegrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our sweet Black Australorp has started pulling her feathers. She's just making a mess out of herself. It's not that she's pulling the whole feather, but it looks like she's broken a bunch of them. I know that we need to up her protein, right now I'm feeding Purina Layena crumbles and supplementing w/oyster shell. If I bought game bird feed w/24% protien, should I feed it straight or mix it with the Layena? Would it be ok for all of my girls to have the game bird feed as long as they have oyster shell available?

    Here are some pics of Flora in case anyone wants a peek. I put some Blue Kote on her neck/chest because I saw a bloody spot where a feather had been pulled. She has no pinfeathers coming in. I'd originally thought it was a molt, but now I'm not sure. If anyone wants to comment on that, I'd appreciate it, too.

    [​IMG]
    Here you can see the broken feathers under her wing, the gray looking area.


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    This is her chest area, it goes up her neck a bit as well. I put Blue Kote on this area.

    [​IMG]
    This is kind of a side-shot so you can see how the feathers are broken.

    [​IMG]
    This is an outdoor shot to just show how rumpled and messy she looks. You can see her broken feathers. It was before I noticed the bare spot on her chest. Today I checked her thoroughly for mites. Her vent looks great, the chest area looks fine except for the one little blood spot from what I suspect was a pulled feather, well and the big bare spot, too. I also checked under her wings and on her back and couldn't find any mites/lice.

    Any help is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. BorneHomestead

    BorneHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How old is she?
     
  3. chickiegrrl

    chickiegrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She was hatched May 9th of this year. 7 months?
     
  4. BorneHomestead

    BorneHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is not a molt issue. Chickens go through a series of "mini molts" and then an annual molt. A pullet goes through one complete and three partial moults during its growth to point of lay. Generally, complete molting occurs from 1-6 weeks of age, and partial molting at 7-9 weeks, 12-16 weeks and 20-22 weeks, and then around 16-18 months they will start their full annual molt.
    I would suspect lice or mite but you mentioned that there wasn't any. She will most likely look ratty until she molts these feathers and grow new ones.
     
  5. chickiegrrl

    chickiegrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you BorneHomestead. Do you think the higher protein food would be a good idea to get her to stop picking her feathers?
     
  6. BorneHomestead

    BorneHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If she is the only one with the issue I would remove her from your flock so that you can give her more protein without the rest of the flock getting at her feed. Giving extra protein to hens that do not require it can cause other issues. She may not need that high of a protein, maybe try giving her other sources of protein with her regular feed. Just keep in mind her feathers wouldn't look better til after her annual molt, that you are only trying to stop the feather picking.
     
  7. chickiegrrl

    chickiegrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have been giving them egg and black sunflower seeds with their food, mostly because it's been so cold. Are these good enough sources of protein for her? I will tell you a funny...I fed them some leftover hotdish. It had hamburger and green beans in it. While the other girls were eating the green beans, Flora was horking down hamburger as fast as she could! I just thought she was being a little dinosaur. Maybe she knows that she needs some extra protein.
     
  8. BorneHomestead

    BorneHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The egg and black oil sunflower seed are good sources of protein and shouldn't hurt any of them as long as they are only given as treats. I was saying keep her separate if you are changing her feed from layer to game feed. Usually when it is cold I give scratch a little in the morning just to get them moving and then just before bed time to help keep them warm.

    I have given mine leftovers too, usually they pick out the meat first, then rice, and will hardly touch the veggies.
     
  9. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    Just a thought. Do you give her salt? I read in an old book that sometimes lack of salt causes feather pulling. She won't need much. A few grains a day. Of course the book said 1/2 c to 100 lbs [​IMG]
     
  10. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Strangely enough, I have also heard this. I am not sure exactly how I would equate the size of the chicken to the dosage, but I'm sure somebody on this forum has figured it out. I haven't experienced a problem with feather pulling, however a few of the traditional handbooks about chickens have said that sodium can cause this.
     

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