1. fernandez0067

    fernandez0067 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 2, 2008
    Schenectady
    I have about 17 hens and 1 rooster in my coop and in the past month or so they are all picking on eachother worse and worse each day. I had to remove one hen from the coop because she almost had no feathers left. I let her stay in my garage until her feathers grew back and I put her back in the coop. By the next morning she had her whole backside pecked out again!

    Now it seems like every day each chicken has less and less feathers. I tried the "blue lotion" on the bare spots but it hasnt seemed to deter the behavior.

    My beautiful chickens look horrible and Im sure the bare skin in February cant feel too good either!

    This cant be normal, any ideas?????
     
  2. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    could be dietary; are you feeding a good feed with enough protein? Are they eating the feathers or just pulling them out? Is there one or two that are the ringleaders? are they too crowded? are you they having to stay in the coop or do they have a run? have you tried putting a whole head of (raw) cabbage, cooked squash, or other items like this in the coop/run to divert their attention from picking each other? Try posting this in the chicken behavior section and see if some of the old-timers on here can help.
     
  3. ChicksR4Me

    ChicksR4Me Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 1, 2008
    North East Indiana
    I'm sorry about your chickens. I'm a new chicken owner but I have read that a white light bulb being on in the coop can cause them to be agitated. Do you provide any artificial lighting? And if you do... how many hours per day?
     
  4. TXmom

    TXmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    How big is your coop...are they overcrowded? Are they getting time outside or is it too cold where you live? They are probably bored...you need to find something for them to do...I've read that hanging a head of cabbage gives them something to peck at.
     
  5. natalie1136

    natalie1136 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 5, 2009
    Dennison Illinois
    My chickens did that this winter too. I gave them a little cat food for extra protein. Then we added some heads of cabbage that my husband hung from the ceiling. It seemed to help my chickens. The feathers ore coming back in now and everyone is well. The cabbage was for boredom.

    I hope this helps. They probably would have been fine, but i wanted them to stop doing this.

    Natalie
     
  6. chutewoman

    chutewoman Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 28, 2008
    Mid- Missouri
    I use pine tar, you find it in the horse section of the feed store. This stopped the behavior after about a week of application. I had also tried the blue kote with no luck. I put some on everybird every day for a week if they had exposed skin. Now if I see a new spot, which doesn't occur much anymore, I just dab a bit on and watch all the chickens shake their heads at the smell. This worked great for me. Good luck
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2009
  7. mistylady

    mistylady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 1, 2008
    Ohio near Coshocton
    Are they starting to molt? Mine were pickign loose feathers off each other when they molted.

    In the coop I put cracked corn on the floor and let them scratch for it also grit and oyster shell. They fluff in it too. Bored chickens can be destructive! Mine love fresh straw thrown down in the flake form so they can rip through it. Also anytime they can go outside let them run! Mine were out when it started to snow yesterday .... they decided it was time to come in for the evening! Also a nice treat of cooked noodles or something different will make your flock happy!
     
  8. fernandez0067

    fernandez0067 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 2, 2008
    Schenectady
    Wow thank you everyone for the quick responses!!! A few things:

    1. The coop is 10' x 12' ----- and I have a run that is 8' x 24', the coop does have a small ceramic heater that helps on the really cold days.

    2. I live in Upstate NY (near Albany), I usually keep the door open halfway so they have the option to go outside unless its FREEZING outside then I keep them in for the day.


    3. I feed them the Dumor Layer pellets 16% which is available at all times. I also give them scratch everyday sometimes every other day. A friend who owns a resturant nearby gives me boxes full of romaine scraps atleast once a week and sometimes its everyday. And they also get whatever scraps are left over at home. In my opinion they eat pretty well, but Im definitley willing to try the cat food if its a protein issue, because they are eating the feathers-- not just plucking them.


    4. I havent seen any "ring leaders" --- they're all in on it!

    5. I will also try to tar stuff that was mentioned --- does tractor supply have that? We dont have many farm type stores around here!
     
  9. chutewoman

    chutewoman Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 28, 2008
    Mid- Missouri
    The pine tar is sold for use on horses. It is also an antiseptic so it will be good on the wounds. I would think it would be at a tractor supply store, anywhere you can buy feed and supplies for animals. I have also heard of stuff called No-pick or Hot-pick, some have had luck with those also. Our supply store did not carry them, so we chose to use the pine tar instead. I was thinking I was going to lose my flock, but the pine tar worked wonders. Just be sure to put enough on that if they peck at each other again they get a good taste. It is very messy to handle but they will learn that feathers do not taste good if you get plenty on. :eek:)
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2009

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