Mean hens pecking out feathers of others. What to do?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rajzwaibel, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. rajzwaibel

    rajzwaibel Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 17, 2008
    The chickens are almost a year old; we've got 6 (3 RIR, 1 BR, 1 BsL, and 1 Silkie). We noticed it first with the Silkie. Some of the others (I haven't narrowed the culprits down yet) started plucking out the head feathers of the Silkie. I get home tonight and I see one of the RIR standing on another and plucking out her feathers on her back.


    Does this mean I have to get rid of the bullies?



    *Edit* They have about a 350 square foot area during most of the day to walk freely, not counting their coop.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  2. IN-farmgirl

    IN-farmgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some believe that chickens will do this when they need more protein. Try feeding them extra protein, like black oil sunflower seeds, for example. Unfortunately, I had to re-home a bully chicken. Sometimes you will end up with different personalities in breeds that just don't mix well.

    Also, I have heard pine tar and some anti-pick sprays work well.

    Maybe others will chime in and add their own experiences.
     
  3. rajzwaibel

    rajzwaibel Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Hmmm...When they aren't in the yard eating bugs or other stuff, they have 20% protein feed (yes, I get this over the 16% stuff).
     
  4. moduckman

    moduckman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    do they access to dirt. When my little birds start acting up I give them dirt.
     
  5. rajzwaibel

    rajzwaibel Out Of The Brooder

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    Yeah, about 2/3 of the area is dirt. Although it's often wet (I'm in Oregon [​IMG] )
     
  6. Kim_NC

    Kim_NC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2009
    Mt Airy, NC
    If they have plenty of protein, then it may be one of these....

    - boredom, especially in colder months when they can't dig as much or there's little plantlife to peck, etc. Try giving them something like a cabbage to peck and entertain themselves. (Will also make their egg yolks a rich yellow)

    - too much light, a light in the coop that burns 24/7 can be too much and make them a bit cranky and mean to each other. Reduce the total light to 14-16 hrs per day if you're using one.
     
  7. mylilchix

    mylilchix Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was just about to post asking the same thing!! [​IMG] I have one hen, Crispy, a tiny australorp who is very vocal and very mean. If her behavior doesn't improve soon, she may live up to her name!

    I've been noticing that most of my hens are missing tail feathers and fluff around their behinds. They get layer crumbles with 16% protein, and an endless supply of BOS. I've added a couple of things for them to roost on. [​IMG] What else can I do to prevent boredom, so Crispy doesn't end up on my dinner table?

    Thanks,
    Sonja
     
  8. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

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    Sometimes you can isolate the culprits for a while - a week or more - to shake up their positions in the pecking order.
     
  9. mylilchix

    mylilchix Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] That's what I was afraid of! I'm running out of places to put naughty chickens. My roo has been moved to solitary because even with saddles on he was rubbing my hens raw. I have a broody on 2 eggs in my basement in a dog crate. I have nowhere to put Miss Crispy. May have to go buy another dog crate!!

    Sonja
     
  10. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

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    Quote:You know what that means... you need more chickens!!!
     

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