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How do I stop feather picking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nancy1zak, May 2, 2010.

  1. nancy1zak

    nancy1zak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 27, 2008
    Morris County, NJ
    We have 8 chickens. One of them, the Americauna is getting picked on. We noticed some down like feather on her back tail where her top feathers had been picked out. When I went out today, there was a hole, and blood. : ( We put her in a rabbit hutch next to the run so she could see the other chickens and they could see her, but not hurt her anymore. We sprayed blu-kote on her back tail where the blood is. Then I noticed one of the RIR had some down like feathers showing like she was getting her feathers picked out too. Can I spray something on them to make them stop? How about the bitter apple that i use to stop my dog from chewing on the furniture when he was a puppy? Any ideas?
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2010
  2. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 6, 2009
    This is what my cousin told me to do when my hens picked at each other. He said to get some styrofoam and crumble it out for them to eat and he said it would make them quit picking. It does work and doesnt seem to hurt the chickens.
     
  3. nancy1zak

    nancy1zak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 27, 2008
    Morris County, NJ
    OK...I have some styrofoam...I will try that. Did you try it? After thinking about it... I am not so sure about styrofoam? I don't think I want it in my eggs.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  4. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would be cautious about putting something like that in my birds. I'd also be cautious about eating eggs from birds who were eating styrofoam. Is there any information on what chemicals could possibly be absorbed? I hope you're not selling those eggs without telling anyone what they've eaten.
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Do the chickens have ample space in their coop and run? Overcrowding often results in feather picking and bullying types of behaviors. If they're also picking up loose feathers and eating them too, I'd also suspect a protein deficiency. If you're using a standard layer feed, the protein should be figured in for a balanced diet. You could try supplementing for a week or two with salmon, sunflower seeds, a little catfood, things with high protein.
    Also, are there plenty of roosts inside both the coop and the run so that if a chicken IS getting picked on, there are places to escape to. Offer more than one feeder so that picked on birds have a place to eat.
     
  6. wanderseek

    wanderseek Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 2, 2010
    east central Indiana
    My husband read something somewhere that said you can take some axle grease and dab a blob of it on the wounded area. The stink of the stuff will deter the pickers/peckers. It WORKS!! I mean, it works INSTANTLY. Just gotta reapply once in a while as needed. Hope this helps!
     
  7. nancy1zak

    nancy1zak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 27, 2008
    Morris County, NJ
    I will try the axle grease. What about Bitter Apple (the stuff we use to makes puppies stop chewing on furniture)? I didn't put the styrofoam in because I was unsure. I gave them cabbage and I will try sunflower seeds. See if that works to keep them busy. I also put a crate on it's side near a wall in the coop so if someone was getting picked on they could hide. Their coop is supposed to hold 15 chickens. We have 6 regular size chickens, and two bantams. The run is 4 x 8. I am unsure about letting them free range bec my neighbors half brain dog is always hanging around. How close to chickens stay to their coop? The coop is in our yard that is fenced in. Although, the fence is one of those black aluminim with the points on top. So although the neighbors dog can't get into the yard, the chickens could get through the bars and I know that dog would be on them in a flash. Ok...running out now to get sunflower seeds! Wish me luck.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  8. nancy1zak

    nancy1zak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 27, 2008
    Morris County, NJ
    How many sunflower seeds do I give them?
     
  9. nancy1zak

    nancy1zak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 27, 2008
    Morris County, NJ
    How many sunflower seeds do I give them?
     
  10. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Okay...I am thinking overcrowding might be your issue. Really, your birds should have at least 70 sq. ft. of run space....10sq. ft. per standard bird, half that for bantams. Your run is less than half of that. Your coop (especially since you do have picking issues) should be at least about 28 sq. feet...but in the summer time, your run is more important, since they're not usually in the coop except to sleep and lay. Now come winter time, the size of your coop will be really important, because they'll spend a LOT more time indoors. Even if it's just using metal posts and chicken wire (since your yard is fenced), I would expand their run...I'm betting that's your issue.

    Oh, and I just sprinkle sunflowers seeds about like tossing out scratch...a handful or two.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2010

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