how to find the instigator

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickenbythesea, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. chickenbythesea

    chickenbythesea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2011
    Nova Scotia
    I am wondering how to figure out who's picking the feathers off the backs of my hens. I've had chickens for 2 years and never had a problem before now. When we had the rooster he did a bit of damage to a couple of them so we sent him packing. I know they've picked on my silver spangled hamburg but now it's spreading to the other hens. tonight I found one of my RIR's with a fresh 1x.5 in swath on her back missing and freshly pink. Out of the whole flock there's just one that has no feathers missing whatsoever. Is this this instigator? or is she just better at running then the others? They have plenty of room and get to free range for roughly 5 hrs a day. I feel sick about how they look... my hens always look amazing and I want to get them back to that. Once I find the instigator do I need to cull it or is there a way to rehabilitate it? Thanks
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I think if you watched for several hours you would discover that most or all of them are doing it. Feather picking seems to be a habit they learn from each other. Usually it's considered to be caused by too little space, too little protein in the diet, or boredom -- but addressing these doesn't always cure the problem. Lots of people give their chickens lots of fruit and veggie scraps, and I think sometimes they end up decreasing their total protein intake unintentionally, this way. I'll give you some links I have about feather picking, with a bunch of thngs that have worked for others:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/2/managing-your-flock

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/697052/i-think-i-found-a-miracle-cure-for-feather-picking/0_20
     
  3. chickenbythesea

    chickenbythesea Chillin' With My Peeps

    513
    4
    111
    Jun 15, 2011
    Nova Scotia
    thanks, I will check out these links
     
  4. chickenbythesea

    chickenbythesea Chillin' With My Peeps

    513
    4
    111
    Jun 15, 2011
    Nova Scotia
    now they're pecking their own back feathers? what's going on
     

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