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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jatsma, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. jatsma

    jatsma Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 10, 2015
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    I have 29 chickens unsexed about 4 months old. Seems like I have 70% roosters(lots of crowing). There are some chickens in the flock that have feathers missing from their backs. Like they've been plucked out . Is that normal behaviour like the pecking order? Or could it possibly be something else? They are in a 10x10 coop with a 5x5 run (in the process of making a movable run as well) and will be killing all roosters eventually.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My guess is they're overcrowded and stressed and turning on each other because of that. Your coop is a little tight and the run space is really tight. Is there anything available for them to play with or to otherwise distract them from picking at each other?
     
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Feathers missing from the backs of pullets indicates over mating (if that is what you are observing) but feather pecking due to stress and overcrowding may be contributory factors. I'd suggest getting rid of your cockerels ASAP.

    Your coop, whilst a very tight squeeze, may just be enough for some many 4 month olds (but won't be once they are adult size), but your run area is woefully inadequate for so many birds. General rules of thumb, per bird are 4sqft in the coop and 10sqft for the run. The more space your flock has, the happier and healthier it will be.

    Here's a link that may help - https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

    CT
     
  4. when my little girls started really running about i put up branches at different levels so they could get a jump on their perching skills. i also gave them piles of cut grass and weed eater stuff. they loved it pulling it apart and running around with pieces in their beaks. a real crack up.
     
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Its always good to give them things to keep them occupied, I totally agree.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!
    Sorry (kinda of), I'm going to be harsh here.

    Crowding is definitely your problem, that coop is too small and the run is way too small.
    I'm assuming there is no free ranging going on, which could help some but not cure the problem overall.

    The cockerels are (or are close to being) sexually mature and the pullets are not, it's a hairy time in chicken raising,
    having that many males crowded in with so few females borders on abuse IMO.
    The males are probably fighting each other and trying to mate the females that are not old enough yet

    I'd separate the genders right now, put the cockerels in another enclosure until you deem them big enough to eat (I harvest my cockerels at 12-16 weeks).
     
  7. jatsma

    jatsma Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 10, 2015
    Canada, Saskatchewan
    Thank you guys so much. These are the answers I was looking for. What you all are saying is what I thought. My bf thinks he knows everything about anything and said they would be fine. I will be killing all roosters in the next week, so hopefully that solves all my problems. Free ranging is not possible, there are a lot of predators including our two dogs who chase after anything. I try to give the chickens lots of grass in the coops and run to keep them occupied but there are just too many. I am in the process of making a movable run that is 5 times bigger than the original run its self. I will keep updating and see if the behaviour of the flock changed.
     

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