feather pulling

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by junebug7334, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. junebug7334

    junebug7334 Songster

    Sep 24, 2008
    So I am sure it's on here somewhere. I tried to do a search. Caught one of my hens pulling out the chest feathers of her roost mate. What's up???? Thank you.
  2. perched

    perched In the Brooder

    I have no idea why they pick at one another's feathers. It's frustrating. One thought we had when we had some naughty ladies doing that was that they were just plain bored. [​IMG]
  3. taprock

    taprock Songster

    Nov 1, 2010
    Northern L.P. Michigan
    I saw the same thing happen today with my two that are laying eggs. The others are still younger and haven't started laying yet. I have been blaming it on roosters and then caught the two hens in the act. They gulped them down like spaghetti. I have heard they need more protein. How much protein do they need? I am feeding a mash that is 16% and thought it was ok.
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Yes, I've also heard that feather picking is caused by protein deficiency. But if it's not curtailed, it will quickly develop into a bad habit, and good luck trying to break a chicken habit. Our feathered friends are really stubborn about changing their ways!

    Very recently I noticed my little EE pullet Flo plucking feathers out of the face and neck of her former brooder mate. Flo is a bit under-sized and since she's either at the bottom of the pecking order or close to it, she may not be getting access to as much food as she needs. I immediately started giving Flo an ounce of canned tuna every other day, privately away from the rest of the flock. She's been getting this therapeutic treat for two weeks now, and I've not seen a single incident of feather picking since.

    Whether this is evidence of a protein deficiency being satisfied or something else, I can't say for sure. But it's certainly a simple remedy to give it a try to see if it'll help your feather picker.
  5. Elphaba2140

    Elphaba2140 Songster

    Mar 20, 2010
    Northern Illinois
    I had this issue in the Fall. I was giving layer crumbles (16% protein) and changed to Meat Grower (21%) and it stopped almost immediately; like within a week. Now I stayed on the Meat Grower and given oyster shell supplement with it instead of the Layer food. Feathers started to come back in and there are feathers all over the ground - NOT eaten. Worked for me.
  6. junebug7334

    junebug7334 Songster

    Sep 24, 2008
    protein! That makes sense. Will change to the meat raiser for a bit and until then give the tuna. Thanks everyone!
  7. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Too little space, boredom, protein deficiency. There are threads about feather picking or pulling and pecking on the FAQ page; scroll down a ways.
  8. junebug7334

    junebug7334 Songster

    Sep 24, 2008
    thank you.

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