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How to stop tail feather picking?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by menkot, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. menkot

    menkot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 1, 2007
    I have 12 chickens ... seven my mom just brought me. One of the seven she brought (about 6-8 weeks old) keeps pulling the tail feathers out of two of the others. She only pulls the tails out of two black sex links. She leaves one black sex link alone and does not bother the two small barred rocks. She also leaves the other production red alone. She is a production red. She definitely does not mess with my original 5. They are all bigger. I am tired of looking at naked chicken butts. Any ideas?

    I have a feeder full of chick starter so she is not missing out on food. My mom also kept a feeder out full of chick starter at all times.

    Thanks,
    Sarah
     
  2. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 11, 2007
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    Feather picking is usually due to space or diet. However, boredom can play a role with some as well. Make sure you have the right space requirements for your birds and proper nutrition first. Some people offer black oil sunflower seeds to stop feather picking - but dont' forget they need grit with that to process it ok. You could also clip the very tip of the feather picker's beak, so it doesn't turn into drawing blood. Some birds are just more prone to feather picking and not much you can do for them but cull them before you have everyone doing it.

    Jody
     
  3. Napalongtail

    Napalongtail Longtail Longtimer

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    Jan 31, 2007
    NE Washington
    I'm going to agree here with the space , feed , heat and boredom. A hanging hay bag with alfalfa can help, as well as snacks like watermelon, tomatoes, pumpkins, squashes, even corn on the cob. I buy lots of inexpensive frozen vegies from the club stores until my garden has enough for everyone. I think you'll find that if you toss in a couple handfulls of defrosted or fresh vegies once a day that foolishness will stop.
     
  4. Nor*Cal chick

    Nor*Cal chick Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2007
    Northern California
    Thats a good idea about the frozen veggies!
    I will keep that in mind for my flock.
    As for feather picking - I agree with all the issues about
    space/diet/boredom.
    But once they start something like feather picking, it
    is hard to get them to stop. And if they draw blood they are relentless!
    I had this problem when they were young chicks, and
    also a few weeks ago. The most recent attack was on a Turkin; in and about her neck where her feather 'stubble'
    is located. I removed her from the flock and put on Blu-Cote to heal the wounds. After a few days, she rejoined the flock without further incident.
    One of my RRI, was picked on constantly about her tail feather, after she healed & I put her back into the flock, they still would not leave her alone. So I made a salve of vapor rub & cayenne pepper & spread that around the base of her tail feathers.
    After a few tastes of that everyone stopped picking on her. I know it may sound drastic, but it worked for me. I had heard of a commercial product called 'No Pick' or "Stop Pick" for chickens, but I could not find it in my area, so that is why I came up with my own recipe.
     
  5. Fluffychicky

    Fluffychicky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2013
    Sophia, NC
    I have a 10 week old who was badly picked on when she was younger then it stopped but now they've (I don't know who is doing it) broken the feathers on her back it only looks like one was broken at the quick but wasn't bleeding when I looked at her. They free range all day and have plenty of food and water plus treats...I have no clue why they pick on only her. Is it safe to put that on her with those broken feathers? And is it possible to use Vasoline instead of vapor rub?
     

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