In need of some advice. Feather picking and laziness.

Arne

In the Brooder
Jun 4, 2020
10
28
33
Hey all.

Since a month or 10 we have 4 small Wyandotte hens. And we love them.

But recently there was some change in behavior. They are less active, and one of the ladies is picking feathers form another hen and eating them.

I really have no clue why this is happening. The run is around the 11m2. (sorry I don't know how much that is in feet) and the coop is 1.5m2. There is sand, there are attributes to go under and over.

They always looked happy, but since a week or 2 they are looking tired. In the morning they come out, eat something, and sleep/rest. No activity what so ever. If we come out, then they jump up, follow us around and it looks all normal again. Just to sit down again if we are out of sight.

It kind of looks like they are just waiting for us to feed them. They are barely looking for food them self.

Anyone any experience with lazy/bored chickens? Maybe I have to make it more difficult to for them to gather food?
 
Last edited:
May 22, 2020
582
997
206
Texas
Hey all.

Since a month or 10 we have 4 small Wyandotte hens. And we love them.

But recently there was some change in behavior. They are less active, and one of the ladies is picking feathers form another hen and eating them.

I really have no clue why this is happening. The run is around the 11m2. (sorry I don't know how much that is in feet) and the coop is 1.5m2. There is sand, there are attributes to go under and over.

They always looked happy, but since a week or 2 they are looking tired. In the morning they come out, eat something, and sleep/rest. No activity what so ever. If we come out, then they jump up, follow us around and it looks all normal again. Just to sit down again if we are out of sight.

It kind of looks like they are just waiting for us to feed them. They are barely looking for food them self.

Anyone any experience with lazy/bored chickens? Maybe I have to make it more difficult to for them to gather food?
Did you hand raise them since they were babies? They see you as their Mom, and may be missing you. Are they getting enough protein? Are they panting and hot? Just trying to help you figure out what may be going on. :)
 

Arne

In the Brooder
Jun 4, 2020
10
28
33
We bought them when there were around the 12 weeks old. They do get a lot of attention indeed. Specially with the Corona situation we are all home or working form home.

They are not panting or warm. We are feeding them a small hand of meal worms for 4 hens a day. Unless this isn't enough, they do get protein. Their basic food is layer food, and on top of that they get some mixed grains and corn.

We occasionally also give them fresh green leftovers after cooking diner, like carrots and lettuce.
 
May 22, 2020
582
997
206
Texas
We bought them when there were around the 12 weeks old. They do get a lot of attention indeed. Specially with the Corona situation we are all home or working form home.

They are not panting or warm. We are feeding them a small hand of meal worms for 4 hens a day. Unless this isn't enough, they do get protein. Their basic food is layer food, and on top of that they get some mixed grains and corn.

We occasionally also give them fresh green leftovers after cooking diner, like carrots and lettuce.
It sounds like you're doing all the right things. They may be starting a moulting phase. They do that several times in the first year of life. Also if your weather is warming up, it may contribute to laying around more. Mine have begun to nap a lot in the heat of the afternoon, in the cool dirt in full shade. I bet they are just very happy & excited to see you, then go back to resting when you're not there. :)
 

Arne

In the Brooder
Jun 4, 2020
10
28
33
It was indeed very warm here last couple of days. That might be a cause indeed.

My biggest concern is the feather picking though. I've heard its really hard to get rid of it once it starts. Really have no idea why. I've heard adding extra calcium to the water for a short period of time might help as well. Any experience with that?

You say in the chickens first year they are moulting several times? They only did that only once till now. Do chickens also moult this time a year? I thought that was only in Autumn.

Really appreciate the help, I want to do the best I can for our hens. Thank you.
 

sandrap

In the Brooder
May 28, 2020
8
24
18
Your coop and run are fine for 4 chickens.
It could be the warm weather.
Feather picking and eating could be a sign of some mineral or vitamin deficiency. Maybe buy some vitamins for them? I have a vitamin mix that I add into their drinking water and that can be given to them at all times.
Also, if that doesn't help, you can try replacing their feed.
 

LaFleche

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 22, 2012
5,182
19,551
802
Germany
Last edited:

Arne

In the Brooder
Jun 4, 2020
10
28
33
They are just under a year old. Not sure how old exactly.

I've indeed checked for Mite and feather flees. Visually nothing to see.

The coop is brand new, build it my self. Its made of swedish plywood to minimize hiding places for those buggers. They are sleeping in it for 2 weeks now. Could it be the change stressed them out?

here is an shared album of the run and coop I just finished.

https://myalbum.com/album/P75AhuVRUbeU

Coop is located inside the garage with an entrance to the run. I did this for safety for the chickens because there are LOT of Buzzards and other dangers here. Also, its a good feeling the coop will never get wet and to warm.

And here is an album of the chickens:

https://myalbum.com/album/7QfU6JGWe94C
 

LaFleche

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 22, 2012
5,182
19,551
802
Germany
Beautiful birds and a very nice run!

The newly built cute coop seems to lack proper ventilation. The ventilation slot above the door will not suffice. Covering the cutouts on the frontdoor with hardwarecloth would be an easy solution.

To prevent boredom: carrots, broccoli and/or corncobs will keep them busy and adding some brewer's yeast to their diet will help with the molt.
 

Arne

In the Brooder
Jun 4, 2020
10
28
33
Thank you for your input.

Funny you say, that was my first design. But I recently covered those windows with Plexiglass because i feared the chickens would sleep in the draft since they are sitting right in frond of those windows. You think i should change it back? There is no draft issue?

I was thinking of hanging a broccoli in the run indeed. how long can i leave it hanging?
 

MANNA-PRO

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