How do you stop feather eating/ pecking?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by coopmama, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. coopmama

    coopmama Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2015
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    Yeah, I kind of figured they wouldn't know what it was. There's obviously a difference in smell and taste between raw & cooked eggs. But anyway, like I said, not worth the argument[​IMG]. I am going to try liver. Hadn't really thought of it before. I was thinking maybe tuna? We are having a seafood dinner on Sunday, so I was planning on giving them the leftovers. That should be good protein for a couple of days!
     
  2. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    I blame feather picking, egg eating, cannibalism and long drawn out molts on the lack of animal based proteins in feeds. Since your husband objects to eggs being fed to them, buy them some dry cat food. They will love it! I use peepers on my grouchy hens.
     
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  3. coopmama

    coopmama Out Of The Brooder

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    I ordered peepers last night. I am going to put them on Bertha and see if that helps, which I am optimistic that it will. The cat food that they sometimes get into is moist, is dry better? If so, is there a certain brand that's better due to size/ shape? Thanks!
     
  4. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    I don't know about sizes and shapes. Chickens can swallow some pretty large things with no problems. Dry cat food is cheaper than canned.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  5. yochickiemomma

    yochickiemomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a hen that's molting and my other hens are pecking at her. I blue koted her back and put a very small amount of Vicks vapor rub on the ends of her remaining feathers. So far she seems to be doing better. I made her an apron but I don't want to put it on her for the first time when I won't be home to make sure she won't freak out. I'll let you know after the weekend how it goes with the apron but definitely try a little Vicks.
     
  6. the poppster

    the poppster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do you own any books on chicken care? If not I would suggest you get one....the one I bought almost 20 yrs ago is written by Gail Damerow.."Storeys guide to Raising Chickens" you can find it almost anywhere....online, bookstores, the library. It an invaluable font of information! She covers just about anything that you will run into as a chicken owner...in the mean time....you are suffering chicken cannibalism....you have to increase their protein....offer grower crumbles....cooked meat scraps....boils eggs (finely mashed..shells and all)...hamburger...the feather eating has escalated to cannibalism....give the girls a Suet ball....sunflower seeds have lots of protein....if you have a light in your coop, make sure it is a red one...separate the hen with the bloody butt for a few days so the others don't have a chance to continue with the cannibalistic behavior.
     
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  7. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Colorado Rockies
    You've gotten some very excellent advice. All I can add is a link to a thread I began many years ago that explores every facet of feather picking. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/697052/i-think-i-found-a-miracle-cure-for-feather-picking

    After tons of input from a lot of folks who are grappling with this problem, we came to the conclusion that there isn't any single cause of picking, but many. And that requires different approaches when you decide which is the cause of picking in your flock.

    The thing people always try first is feeding more protein. But sometimes, all the expensive, high grade animal protein isn't going to stop it. That's when you may be correct in suspecting the problem is habit or even a mis-wiring of the circuits in the brain of your problem picker.

    Pinless peepers can be very effective when installed on the perpetrator, but sometimes, the chicken gets used to them and discovers ways to see around them and resume picking feathers. That's when you've pretty much exhausted things to try, and separating the culprit from the rest of the flock is the only way short of culling.

    I had just such a problem picker. Her name was Flo. She began picking when she was just a pullet. I eventually gave her her own pen after trying every drastic measure I could think of. She was happy and as long as she could watch the flock, content in her way. She finally died of a long illness this summer.
     
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  8. coopmama

    coopmama Out Of The Brooder

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    SW, PA
    I agree that I've gotten very good advice on this thread, and I'm very appreciative of it! I checked the bag of game bird feed that I've been feeding them, and it says it's 24% protein. They get dried mealworms frequently. Considering that it has only been below freezing a few days so far this winter, I'm pretty sure they're still consuming a fair amount of bugs. I can't imagine they're still experiencing a protein deficiency. That is why I think it's habit. I had been keeping Percy with the flock of younger hens, but last night & tonight she went into the coop with Bertha & wouldn't come out. I checked on them & stood outside the coop for a little bit. I didn't hear any ruckus or anything alarming. Sounded like they were just chatting about the day. When I looked in, they were about a foot or so apart on the roost. I hope the peepers get here soon. I'd really like to be able to keep them together. If I can't break the habit, I'll just keep Percy with the other flock & Bertha will just have to spend the winter alone. [​IMG]
     
  9. Ameraucanster

    Ameraucanster New Egg

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    Please research "depluming mites" on BYC. You cannot see them because they stay beneath the skin at the shaft of the feather. They drive the chickens insane. First the chickens peck themselves at the base of the tail and, when blood shows, they peck each other. It looks like cannibalism but it is not. I was able to fix this by immersing in a bath of water and dog flea shampoo (it must have permethrin in it). Anyway, research here at BYC and check it out on the open internet. Make sure to be able to dry them after the bath.
     
  10. CalgaryFarmer

    CalgaryFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    We had a similar problem. They looked quite haggardly. We increased the protein from 16% layer feed to 22 turkey grower. This solved the problem but it took a while, probably 4 to 6 months.
     

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