Is featherpicking inevitable for this flock?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by austradork, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. austradork

    austradork Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2010
    Seattle
    I am a volunteer chicken caretaker for a community garden. After the coop was built, the garden manager got carried away and bought way too many chickens for the space. I mean these chickens aren't as cramped as factory farm hens or anything, but there ARE a lot of them. Anyway, one of the Brahmas is getting seriously picked on. She literally has NO tail feathers. Not a single one! The base of her back (where the feathers are supposed to be) is full of bleeding scabs and doesn't seem to be healing. So my question is - if I adopt the Brahma, will the flock dynamics of the community garden coop just shift in order to make a new chicken take the brunt? By far, she is the worse for the wear, although a few other chickens get pecked at too (not nearly as bad though). Like I said, I'd be willing to re-home her into my own coop, but if doing so will just cause another chicken to be bullied then I guess there's no point. Thoughts?
     
  2. SmittenChicken

    SmittenChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2010
    Sorry, I'm a chicken newbie and don't really have any advice for you, but I can at least give you a bump - I'm interested to hear what you decide and how it works out.

    I'd be tempted to adopt her just because I love the 2 Brahmas I have, but it makes sense to me that the overcrowded chickens would just turn their attention to someone else. My brahmas are extremely laid back birds, so I'd assume this girl's probably just taking the brunt of the drama but not necessarily causing it. So it may not be worth the trouble of moving her, keeping her quarantined, etc. in terms of the flock dynamic. She would probably LOVE to get out of there and come live with you, though.
     
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Reducing the number of birds in the coop would help everyone out in the coop and prevent further picking. That said, I would think that if this is in a community garden, the manager would want to show chickens at their best and sell/give some away so the bids can look better and give a better image of chickens, especially in the city.
     
  4. mypeeps'n'me

    mypeeps'n'me Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2010
    I don't think you said how long this has been going on, and I am a newbie, too...but, it sounds like you should at least remove her from the flock until her wounds heal. Maybe then you could try to re-introduce her. We had a silkie who was being picked on pretty hard, but not to the level you are describing. I kept her separate for a week, and it did not appear that anyone transferred their agression to another chicken. I gradually re-introduced her with my other chickens and over the next few days, the picking stopped. Good luck!
     
  5. austradork

    austradork Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2010
    Seattle
    Quote:Thanks for the bump! Yeah, I'm such a softie, I'll probably end up taking her. There's no way she can be happy where she is. [​IMG] I'll keep you updated!
     
  6. austradork

    austradork Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2010
    Seattle
    Quote:I know! One would think, huh?! Unfortunately, the only reason the community garden has chickens is for the manure. So the chickens themselves are put on the backburner. The garden manager is actually really nice which makes it harder since I can't be as frank as I'd like to be. And I honestly he doesn't think it's a problem. It seems like he's of the "chickens will be chickens" mindset.
     

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