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HELP! Hen that plucks everyones feathers out-almost leading to deaths

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sonew123, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    First happy T day all!!!!

    SO here's my issue. I have a red star hen that's almost 3. She has been in a coop with the same birds since I got her-growing up with all of them. About 2 months ago I found my SLB pullet cowering in the corner of their coop-while all the others were outside. I picked her up and saw the most horrific HOLE eaten out of her near her vent and more towards hip area-huge and deep:( I felt horrible as I had just visited them a few hours before. I picked her up and fluhed her wounds ( she was 3 months old at the time) I ALMOST put her down after examining her. I know how resilliant chickens can be so I kept cleaning and treating her wounds. At the time I had no idea who did it but I know once blood is shown they all could have joined in:(

    Finally, she healed over ( actually surprised me) and new feathers came in. I kept her in a large brooder cage in her coop so everyone could see her...Her hatch mom stayed on top of her cage almost every night ( bantam-lol) Anyway, It was getting time to let her back out with the group. I chose a Sat to sit and watch the pen all day-I wanted to catch the feather plucker in action. Low and behold it took about 20 minutes for me to see the red star hen go after both SLB's ( un hurt ones) in run..plucking-plucking-plucking-they couldn't run fast enough away from her. I jumped in and put her in solitary confinement within coop. Again, she could see everyone and vice versa. I let the SLB pullet out when she got locked up. Peace in the land resumed.

    Fast forward a month, I let the red star out a few days ago under supervision. Not one problem, until today. She started plucking out everyones feathers. That's when I knew she was the one who almost killed the brahma!. I grabbed her and put her in my larger population of older girls that WONT take crap from any bird. She was running like crazy to stay away from them...I felt bad but I wanted to teach her a lesson. She is now back in confinement-what do I do with her??? Will she stop? I've never had this problem before. They have ALOT of space in and out of the coop-treat balls that hang up-food 24/7 with water-treats almost everyday-fruits -veggies-leftovers...I dont get it? [​IMG] I will put her down if I have too I just don't want to.


  2. LadyinRed

    LadyinRed Songster

    Sep 22, 2009
    I would leave her with the ones that wont take that crap and be done with it. She might not like it but if she's causeing problems then that may be the best solution.
  3. Nava

    Nava I Got The Naked Neck Blues

    Aug 2, 2009
    Ocala Fl
    Hi there,

    I was just reading about cannibalism and this something new for me, I'm researching this mite.

    The depluming itch mite (Cnemidocoptes gallinae) is a burrowing mite that can cause feather loss and stimulate cannibalism
  4. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    I would see it in everyone though I would think. She's the only one who does it:( It sucks as she is one of my youngest's girls...
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  5. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

    Oct 7, 2010
    Conroe, Texas
    Sounds like you got a bad girl. Have you tried the pinless peepers? I read where other folks used them with good results.

    If that don't break her then I would suggest chicken noodle soup or dumplings (great on a cold nite). It is not worth having a tormented flock to keep such a sour biddy.
  6. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Songster

    May 28, 2011
    Foothills of NC
    Quote:Pinless peepers! Cheap and effective.
  7. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    Quote:I hear yah..Ill see how she is tomorrow with the big girls [​IMG]

  8. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    You have my sincere sympathy. This is a most complex problem to have to deal with. I know. My little EE, Flo, was such a feather-picker.

    I came to the conclusion, after trying various strategies to try to cure her, that this is a fixation that seems to be hard-wired into the brain of some chickens, kind of like a nervous habit.

    I tried segregating her with one of the roosters, and the subsequent serial raping over a couple of weeks was just more than I could take. Poor little Flo would collapse in my arms with her eyes closed when I rescued her. I tried Rooster Booster Pick-no-more on the victims but it did no good. Flo still plucked feathers, and the victims were getting very bald.

    Finally, I made saddle/aprons for the victims and installed pinless peepers on Flo. I removed them after three months and Flo went right back to feather picking, but they did work when she was wearing them, so I put them back on her for another nine months.

    Recently I removed them, and for good measure, I trimmed the very tip of her upper beak. So far, Flo has not resumed feather picking.

    The only problem with the peepers was Flo couldn't see very well to compete for food and she had trouble getting through the plastic flaps over the pop hole, but that's what she used me for. She would actually ask me to lift the flaps to let her in the coop to lay her egg and to go inside at night.

    The peepers worked for Flo, and she was a very stubborn case. Hopefully, they'll solve your problem, too.
  9. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    Quote:goodness! Poor little Flo...The peepers sound like a great idea but then you touched on the issue I was worried about-eating and drinking. I'll see how she does with the older not crap taking girls...
  10. LindsayB

    LindsayB Songster

    Apr 26, 2008
    Cypress, Texas
    The red stars that I've had have all been feather pickers. I would definitely try the pinless peepers, they really do work!

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