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

    Jul 19, 2015
    SW, PA

    Thanks for the info. I researched depluming mites, and I don't think this is my issue; however I have not ruled it out. My peepers just came, & unfortunately due to long work hours this week, we have not gotten to put them on Bertha yet. I really hope they sole the problem as I feel terrible about keeping her by herself. She was free ranging for one day with Percy, and it did not take long until I caught her pecking Percy's butt & causing her to bleed again. Other than that, they play so well together; always side by side. I hope to have the peepers on by this weekend, and I will let you all know how it goes.
  2. the poppster

    the poppster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Don't put her in with the bird she was Eating!!! Bertha is well aware of who Percy is and what she was doing to her...chickens have been proven to recognize up to 50 or more flock mates...placing the picked on bird in with the picker is only reinforcing the picking problem!
  3. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    You may have a problem with the flock focusing on Bertha and her bright new peepers after her being separated for a few days, and it could get pretty rough.

    Before putting Bertha and her peepers back in the run, take several of the peepers and toss them onto the ground in the run. Give the flock five minutes to investigate these "New Things". They will fast become desensitized to them, and when Bertha is returned, they won't even noticed the peepers on her.
  4. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    They won't need to be sensitized to the peepers. The other hens knocking her down a peg will actually be good.

    She will probably do some funny backing up and side stepping when you first put the peepers on her. Some of my hens have been pretty comical!
  5. coopmama

    coopmama Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 19, 2015
    SW, PA
    I read about the possibility of the other chickens pecking one if you only put peepers on it. I understand that. And I am definitely aware that Bertha & Percy know each other and every one else. I'm not being snarky, and I'm glad these issues were brought up in case someone else ever needs this info.
    The thing is, Percy & Bertha came together in their coop. We left them in that coop. The other chickens all came to me in the mail from Murray mcmurray. Those chicks (who I still refer to as the "babies") were not ever put in a coop or run with Percy & Bertha. They have their own coop and an entirely enclosed run. When I have let them out to free range on occasion, is the only time they could ever socialize with Percy & Bertha unless it was through the chicken wore fencing. When they DID free range with Percy & Bertha, Bertha bullies them. She spends all of her time eyeing & chasing & pecking all of them. That is why I just decided to keep Percy & Bertha together in their coop all of this time. They know it, and it is their home. Well now Bertha is living there alone. I don't know what else I can do other than the peepers. Thank god it isn't freezing cold out yet or I'd be really upset. Percy doesn't bully the babies at all. But I feel bad separating her because for some insane reason, she just wants to be with Bertha. So I'm sad. Bertha doesn't seem to be bothered by the separation at all. Which I thought was odd. But anyway, I'm praying that tomorrow I'll be the day that both of us can be home before dark, or I can at least her someone to help me put the peepers on her. [​IMG]
  6. coopmama

    coopmama Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 19, 2015
    SW, PA
    Got the peepers on Bertha & got Percy moved back in with her over the weekend. Bertha keeps trying to get them off, and she walks slowly with them on. I have not seen her peck Percy's butt, although I really only ever saw her do that 2-3 times. She did however pounce on top of one of my BO hens and she had a beak full of back feathers until I swatted her off. Never saw her do that before. I still don't know what to think. My husband thinks getting a rooster & letting her hatch a couple of eggs will settle her down. She WAS broody for almost the entire summer, but I don't know how I feel about that. Plus it's finally actually getting cold out. I know animals obviously survive in the wild, but what would I be up against as far as raising chicks outside in the middle of winter??


  7. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 21, 2015
    No where Nebraska
    Birds in the wild have chicks in the spring for a reason. Food availability certainly is high, but so is warmth.
    1 person likes this.
  8. Sandiejo13

    Sandiejo13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2015
    We use a thick layer of Vaseline over the injured area...usually one peck of it from the others, and they leave it alone... just need to reapply every so often.

    As for protein, we feed our chickens left overs, including meat. My husband will also feed them fish scraps when cleaning fish, and we also toss out the bones/carcass after processing deer.. They love all this. We pretty much give them scraps from any of the animals we butcher.... On top of all this, we use Sprout Layer feed (Fleet Farm, upper mid west), which contains 16% crude protein and I also have been mixing in meat maker feed during the molt, which has 21% protein.... another protein they get is sunflower seeds.... I have done the boiled/scrambled egg thing, just a lot of work....

    Good luck with your flock!
  9. Shadow722

    Shadow722 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 28, 2013
    Outlying Oklahoma City
    I had problems with a feather picker and couldn't stop it. After a while it's a learned behavior and the other started. I ate the culprit but then the others had already began doing it also. I sold that group of 15 and kept my other breed and incubated to increase my flock. I don't have any more feather pickers.

    Sometimes a rooster will have a favorite hen and will ride the feathers off of their back and wings leaving just a few tail feathers. I have more hens now to lessen that but he still has 3 he rides enough to see their feathers are messed up a little. He has 17 to pick from. The 3 automatically submit to him when he comes by or when I reach down to get them.
  10. Cookie666

    Cookie666 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 22, 2015
    What do you mean you culled your chicken again? 'Cull' means kills.

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