Have birds that are picking and eating feathers?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by karmical, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. karmical

    karmical Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 3, 2007
    Honeoye Falls, NY
    Was just noticing that there've been quite a train of posts lately about feather eating/picking. Thought I'd share one of the many great links provided by dlhunicorn that was helpful news to me:

    http://msucares.com/poultry/feeds/poultry_feathering.html

    I found it particularly interesting that they mention (paragraphs 2 and 3) how feeding a grain such as corn along with a commercial layer feed can lower the amount of methionine a bird absorbs (see article for why methionine is so important). My feather picking/eating problem started just after our first harsh cold snap this winter...after I'd just begun giving cracked corn to my birds to help keep them warm....coincidence?...hard to say...From what I've read, this issue can stem from so many possible causes...it's hard to know WHAT to "blame" it on...

    Hoping this will help somebody else who's out there sleuthing [​IMG]
     
  2. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    Thank you, that was very helpful.

    Where do you get dl-methionine?
     
  3. karmical

    karmical Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 3, 2007
    Honeoye Falls, NY
    This is what dlhunicorn suggested:

    I would get a supplement specifically for molting birds (if your feed store does not have this look at your pet store in the cage bird section) and ensure that it specifically mentions METHIONINE in the ingredients. You will need this for a real deficiency though adding things such as scrambled egg, yogurt, sunflower seed hearts have a bit of methionine in them.

    As I did some more searching I found out that spinach is high in methionine...so I attached one of those big suet cages to the wall of my coop and stuff it full of spinach almost every day...it's got the methionine and also keeps them occupied with an acvtivity other than feather picking [​IMG]

    I haven't gone so far as to give them the supplement for molting birds yet, but I did see it at a Country Max Store...Been feeling so paranoid about ingredients lately, I thought I'd stick with trying to up it through foods and see how that goes. I've also seen posted here quite a few times that Black Oil Sunflower seeds have a good amount of methionine in them.

    Hope that helps!​
     
  4. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    I just started giving them black oiled sunflower seeds. They seem to like that. I agree with you, I'd rather stick with natural ways to help the problem. I was thinking about getting them some greens at the store. I found some green grass patches, so I've been giving them that, and they are just going crazy for it.

    Thanks for your help
     
  5. Jakenhoss

    Jakenhoss Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:As I did some more searching I found out that spinach is high in methionine...so I attached one of those big suet cages to the wall of my coop and stuff it full of spinach almost every day...it's got the methionine and also keeps them occupied with an acvtivity other than feather picking [​IMG]

    I haven't gone so far as to give them the supplement for molting birds yet, but I did see it at a Country Max Store...Been feeling so paranoid about ingredients lately, I thought I'd stick with trying to up it through foods and see how that goes. I've also seen posted here quite a few times that Black Oil Sunflower seeds have a good amount of methionine in them.

    Hope that helps!

    As I did some more searching I found out that spinach is high in methionine...so I attached one of those big suet cages to the wall of my coop and stuff it full of spinach almost every day...it's got the methionine and also keeps them occupied with an acvtivity other than feather picking [​IMG]

    Karmical,
    Thank you for the website - it was very informational.
    Also, I will try using a suet holder and spinach to see if that will help with the hens pecking at my roosters feet. I am at a loss as to what to do about the hens pecking his feet.
    I wrote earlier about using food coloring, but that only worked for a short period of time. After a while the food coloring wares off. Lasted only 1 &1/2 days:hit

    My order of Blu-Kote will be here on Wednesday, but I am constantly trying to think of different things to do to help him. [​IMG] I can't spend the whole day in the coop with them watching to make sure the hens leave him alone.

    I let them out today to roam and even while they were in the grass scratching away, the hens were pecking at his feet. They have started working their way up his legs. He stands on one foot all day, switching back and forth. I put some Neosporin on it this evening when he went in to roost hoping that there will be some miracle in the morning when they get up and his feet will be better.

    Thanks again for the information.
    You members have been a great help to me these past couple of days. I don't know how I would have gotten through this without everyones input [​IMG].
     
  6. karmical

    karmical Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 3, 2007
    Honeoye Falls, NY
    You're welcome! I'm new to this too and still learning...glad to be able to share some of what I've learned along the way so far [​IMG] The folks on this forum really are great...saved me from losing MY mind more than once!

    Can't remember if you said you'd tried the Vick's Vapor rub yet...I've been using the "baby rub" with some success, but if you can't find that at the drugstore, I know people on here have had success with the regular vapor rub too. The trick with it is to slather enough on so the pickers get a good mouthful (PineGrove turned me on to this).

    It's a goopy mess (I've been wiping it right on my girls' feathers in the picked area) and the dirt sticks to it something awful, but I really think it's helped slow down the picking. I'll see somebody go for a feather and stop short at the smell even...and if they do take a taste, they usually shake their head and wipe their beak on the ground to get rid of it. It hasn't stopped the picking altogether, but it seems to be helping. I'd slather up his feet and legs good with it and see if it helps..

    Good luck!!
     
  7. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    I haven't, I personally can't stand the smell of the stuff, so I don't keep it around [​IMG] I did however go get some spinach. Those girls go CRAZY for spinach.
     

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