I think I found a miracle cure for feather picking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by azygous, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Too much of a good thing can end up as impacted crop, and it's better to approach any experimental feeding with great care and restraint. I can just picture a crop full of dog hair, and chickens have ingested stranger things than that. You can never assume they'll eat only what's best for them.

    And, yes, after all I've been through with Flo, I have concluded her problem is probably in her nervous system. She would be the chicken equivalent of an obsessive/compulsive disorder in humans. Her problem is both behavioral and physiological. She's just built this way.
     
  2. ShakeragSusan

    ShakeragSusan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sorry Flo is no better.

    To all the feather picking experts, what should I put on my girls' bare, raw backs? They are not bleeding, but it sure looks painful- especially when mating.
     
  3. I need to get some chicken saddles for mine. That would work. I want some mesh ones so that there is no heat build up under the saddle.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    By all means use saddles on their bare, little backs until the feathers are coming in strong. If you don't, those pin feathers are just too tempting to snatch and eat. If saddles aren't possible, I've had good luck using Blu-kote. It disguises the bare flesh, and it also tastes unpleasant.
     
  5. Crazie Eddie

    Crazie Eddie Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm just speculating on novel sources of protein or ways to distract them - but then again, if I stuffed my dog in there to supply some hair, it would certainly take their minds off the feather picking....

    Early on, I figured insects would be the best and quickly discovered they would pretty much attack me for mealworms, so I'll be raising them as soon as I clear a space in the basement.

    I agree that there is a behavioral component to the behavior, maybe started cause it was fun, nutritional or tasty, then becoming a bad habit, like humans chewing fingernails or dogs chasing their tail compulsively. But as I love Ginny and am running out of coop room, I'm starting to grasp at straws.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Eddie, you're funny! Appreciate a good sense of humor! Get going on those meal worms! You don't need much space! I have two 12"x18"x2" trays stacked on a book shelf beside the wood stove, and another 3-tray 12"x10"x 18" file box sitting on the water heater. That represents two generations, one incoming and one outgoing.

    I keep a tiny carton of worm in my pocket at all times to entice and direct and reward the herd. It's an excellent training device, even when empty. Even the most stubborn hen comes running when I flash the tiny white carton.

    As for running out of coop room, someone on this site chastised me to build more coop space when I was complaining of a rooster problem. So that's what I did. My pen and coops have more additions than the Winchester House in San Jose, Calif.

    I've also been able to solve small friction problems at roosting time with simple naugahyde curtains hung at intervals on the roosting perch. It's worked better than I had thought it would.

    But chicken keeping is more like chicken wrangling. It can be a real challenge.
     
  7. ShakeragSusan

    ShakeragSusan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Where is the best place to buy 14 chicken saddles?


    Also, is Blu-Kote basically gentian violet? I have some of that and couldn't find Blu-Kote at Rural King.

    What about pine tar? I have some of that from soap making.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  8. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    I've always custom-sewed my own saddles, but you can get patterns off the internet and make them if you sew. If you crochet, they have crochet patterns, too. My neighbor crocheted several saddles for me with turtle necks to cover bald necks. They fit awful well and stayed in place better than cloth saddles. Or go here https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/651503/hen-saddles-free-shipping to buy them ready-made.

    Yes, Blu-kote is gentian violet. But stay away from pine tar. Yuk! Awful stuff to put on delicate feathers! You have to wait for molt to get rid of it.
     
  9. ShakeragSusan

    ShakeragSusan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much for all the information!
     
  10. Ok, serious now.. crochet pattern for chicken saddles? You're gonna have to show a picture of that now, turtlenecks and all [​IMG] I crochet, and I'd like to see this so I could possibly save some money and not have to buy some new stuff to make saddles with.

    Naugahyde curtains hu? hmmm
     

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