Feather pulling help needed!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by butterflygrooves, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. butterflygrooves

    butterflygrooves Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2010
    San Bernardino, CA
    One of my girls has been getting her feathers pulled out by a couple of the other girls for the past couple months and I'm not sure how to stop it from happening. It's a patch on her back right in front of her tail (not from being mounted, we don't have any roos) and it leaves her bald until the new feathers start to appear, then they are pulled out again. I've identified one of the bullies and am sure there are others, what do I do now? I don't want her to end up permanently bald, she is a gorgeous little Jersey Black Giant with the sweetest, shyest attitude.

    Any advice/solutions?
     
  2. swheat

    swheat The Bantam Barn

    Mar 18, 2008
    Alabama
    My Coop
    Sometimes they pick feather for lack protein in their diet and sometimes just from boredom. Give them some green and maybe some straw/hay to scratch around in(if they are penned) and make sure they have enough room, over crowding can also cause this.
     
  3. butterflygrooves

    butterflygrooves Out Of The Brooder

    57
    2
    41
    Mar 2, 2010
    San Bernardino, CA
    They eat regular feed and boiled eggs plus whatever they find while they are out of the coop. I keep them locked up at night but they roam the yard during the day, chasing each other and the dogs, scratching and taking dust baths in the exposed dirt area of the yard, finding treats in the compost pile, chasing bugs, etc. They only pull her feathers while inside the coop/run, regardless if the door is open or they are locked up. Should I be doing something differently? More protein beside the eggs?
     
  4. swheat

    swheat The Bantam Barn

    Mar 18, 2008
    Alabama
    My Coop
    I would rule out need for protein then, it may be from boredom or habit. I am not sure what to tell at this point..Maybe someone will post some more ideas.
     
  5. Drk_Wlf

    Drk_Wlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 11, 2009
    Chautauqua County, NY
    I have had the same problem sence this spring, it got a little better sence they are in a bigger run now. I also went and bought them a Flock Block and I feed them some scrambled eggs on occation. I still have one or two that are missing feathers, but they apear to be growing back in now. The biggest picker is my one RR and 2 of my golden comets I have caught pecking as well, my black australorps don't seem to peck at the others at all. Some breeds do better with confinment then others.
     
  6. It sounds like protein is not your issue from your description. I would inquire about the size of the run. Most chickens need 10 sf of run space as a minimum. If there is not enough room they tend to pick on one another. Also, the chickens need to be able to scratch around. Although my 14 birds free range I still put fresh hay in the run for them to scratch and eat. It tends to keep them occupied to be able to scratch around.
     
  7. OregonChickenGal

    OregonChickenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2010
    Central Oregon
    Some hens are just feather pickers. I've got one that I've had separated for the past 7 months. I tried the time out thing first for a few days. Didn't work. So she is permanetly in her own coop and run. Before I separated her, she was terrorizing all the hens. Chasing them all over the run, and we have a large run. She would even chase them into the coop to pick at them. It got so bad that it affected the hens laying. They were always hiding from her. The coop and run she's in borders the main run, so she can see the other hens, and even pick at them, if they get to close. I didn't want to get rid of her, because she's an excellent layer. It's alot more peaceful now.
     
  8. butterflygrooves

    butterflygrooves Out Of The Brooder

    57
    2
    41
    Mar 2, 2010
    San Bernardino, CA
    Quote:Our coop is similar to this one. Ours is smaller at 4x8 with 5 pullets, I'm guessing I should expand the run.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010

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