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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    Permit me to introduce Joycie in her custom-crocheted turtleneck, lemon-yellow saddle!

    My neighbor got the pattern off the internet and I asked her to extend the top upward into a tube to cover her naked neck. (Machine-wash and dry)[​IMG]
     
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  2. Ok, now that is just WAY TOO CUTE!

    I guess I'll have to look for the pattern... where to put what size holes for wings, etc.

    I don't know if I've told you or not but I adore your Winchester Chicken Mansion. I like the floor too. Is it just sand? I image you don't have to provide grit in a separate container do you!? How do you keep it so clean? Do you have a special rake for droppings, etc?

    ETA: the sweater looks like it covers her oil gland. Does she have any trouble preening and getting to it?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  3. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Joycie wouldn't wear the sweater constantly. She had breaks from it. Actually, she managed to completely unravel a neck gator that my neighbor crocheted for her. She's the only one of the girls who hates all saddles and apparel.

    My run is sand on top of clay soil. I remove poop with a litter box scoop, and a rake for under the coops. These chickens don't know what a normal chicken run is like. They have all the grit conveniently supplied everywhere they step.
     
  4. pigeonguy

    pigeonguy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    mealworms are not 50% protein more like 20%.
    Show me something on bugs at 50% protein so I can raise those.
     
  5. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    I want to share an observation about my feather-picker Flo that supports the theory that feather-picking may have a strong behavioral basis.

    The flock gets squash that I grow in summer and store in winter to feed to them as a treat and nutritional supplement. They all are wild about it, eating the pulp right down to the rind. However, they lose interest in these rinds, even though there may be a millimeter or two of pulp left.

    I toss the remains into Flo's isolation pen, and she leaps on them like a starving orphan. She cleans the rest of the pulp off with the thoroughness of a swarm of dung beetles. It really is very like an obsessive compulsive person who tends to take everything to extremes.

    I'm somewhat regretful of depriving her of this little joy in life because she may soon be wearing a bumpa-bit generously supplied by a BYC'er who offered to share an extra one of hers with me. I've tried a Bumpa-bit before on Flo, but it was too long and protruded a good quarter inch beyond her beak, making it impossible for her to eat. But this new one is shorter and appears to be more suited to a chicken.

    To answer your next obvious question, they are not available for purchase in the US. I do not know why. But people who have managed to get them say they work wonders in curbing picking since the chicken cannot close her beak with it on. They fit into the beak holes like pinless peepers.

    It's my hope that Flo may be able to return to the flock if this works. Life in a flock of one is far from ideal.

    Here's what the device looks like:[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  6. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    This time, I really did find a cure for feather-picking! Flo is now sporting a Bumpa-bit, pictured on this page. She's been with the rest of the flock all day long, and not once did she liberate a feather!

    The bit makes it impossible for her to close her beak completely, so any feather that would happen to get in the way of Flo's beak just slips harmlessly through. Same goes for fighting. She can't bite, either! It helped shorten the length of the fights she got into as she was re-entering the pecking order. Later, Lilith, the number two hen, walked up to Flo, and instead of fighting with her, she sweetly picked bits of food and dirt out of Flo's beard, a "welcome home, Flo" if I ever saw one!

    When I first installed the bit, Flo couldn't eat anything. I watched and encouraged her for about half an hour, but then couldn't stand to watch any longer and left her with a dish of all sorts of tempting treats, meal worms, raisins, bits of tortilla, torn up cabbage. I came back three hours later, and everything was eaten. Now she eats as if she doesn't have anything in her beak. Of course, anything requiring beak precision is off the table. But, she won't starve. When it comes to her favorites, squash and carrots, I shall just have to shred them for her.

    And Flo will never pick another feather.
     
  7. mikkles

    mikkles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't get how it goes on their beak?
     
  8. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    The bit is held in place by the two prongs inserted in the beak holes just like pinless peepers. The business end of the bit goes between the upper and lower beak, preventing Flo from closing her beak completely. She's doing very well with it.[​IMG]
     
  9. ShakeragSusan

    ShakeragSusan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm so happy for you and Flo!!
     
  10. Crazie Eddie

    Crazie Eddie Out Of The Brooder

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    Well as with Flo, the effects of the Peepers wore off quite quickly. Is the Bumper-bit still working? Are they available in the US - I've contacted a UK company about shipping policies....
     

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