Feather Pulling Question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Hishigata, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 7, 2012
    My easter egger, Pepper, recently completed her first molt and is finally back to laying eggs as usual. However I noticed her beard and muffs still looked a bit low on feathers. At first I thought the feathers were just slowly coming in, but them I saw something odd. My other hen, a lakenvelder, was pulling out the beard feathers. Pepper used to let the other hens groom her beard and pull out little burs and bits of food. This time she was sitting there all calm like at grooming but the other hen was pulling out her feathers not bits of food! Pepper is the dominant hen so I doubt this is bullying. Do easter eggers ever get tired to being bearded ladies?!
     
  2. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd dust for mites/lice JIC. I think the head is the last area to molt so it could be that the feathers are shedding naturally or it could be that she's allowing excessive grooming because she's itchy. Is the one grooming her eating the feathers? Is the groomer molting? It can be hard to guess why they do what they do but when I had a feather pulling issue, it was the blood feathers they went for and the one getting a feather pulled made it clear that it didn't feel good. It was resolved by a temporary feed change (higher protein and with animal protein in it rather than all soy).
     
  3. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The other hen is not molting but she is eating the feathers. They are small fluffy face feathers not the stick-like pin feathers. Pepper does not look to be in pain when the feathers are pulled. I have not observed this behavior in the last few days so maybe it stopped on its own. The girls free range in the yard most of the time and eat lots of grubs. They have access to layer feed too. I can try upping the protein as they do love tuna fish and bacon. Thanks for the advice.
     

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