Moulting or picked on

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Justhatched, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. Justhatched

    Justhatched Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What is the difference between a chicken moulting or being picked on. I have two girls I think are moulting but I noticed a different one picking on one that is moulting. Both of the ones moulting I think are going through mini moults. I was with them today and couldn't help but wonder if they are being picked on vs. moulting. The only thing that I notice is a small amount of missing feathers. Both around the rump.

    Edited to add: I don't have any roosters and only noticed today 1 was being "grumpy" with others.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  2. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    You would most likely see dried blood on picked feathers. If they are molting you will know it. I find they get grumpier/uglier/whinier [​IMG] My Delaware is picking on anyone who gets close.. Almost like a female on her period. [​IMG]
     
  3. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you able to post pics?
     
  4. Justhatched

    Justhatched Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is one of the chickens. It started off like this

    [​IMG]

    Then went to this

    [​IMG]
    and
    [​IMG]

    The other one:
    [​IMG]

    These were taken a few weeks ago. They aren't missing any more feathers than what the pictures show. I hope you could see what I see. One of them has feathers in a circular form and the other one is straight across the rump.
     
  5. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That looks like feather picking to me. I had a case of it last year. I was trying to confine some POL pullets in their coop and run to train them where to lay their eggs, but they were used to free ranging and they got bored.

    If your hens were molting their feathering would look very "patchy," with old feathers and bright shiny new feathers mixed in, especially on their chests and shoulders.
     
  6. Justhatched

    Justhatched Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Okay. Is there something I could put on them to stop the picking?
     
  7. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've heard of places that sell anti-pick stuff. It's supposed to taste really nasty which keeps them from pecking each others feathers. This would help the feathers grow back. A "chicken saddle" could also help.

    You're gonna have to do something though to keep them from pecking in the future. Feather picking is caused by any or all of the following: lack of protein, overcrowding, or boredom.

    There's a few things you can try in addition to some anti pick stuff...
    - upping their percentage protein
    - enlarging their coop and/or pen area (each hen should have minimum 10 square feet total coop/run space)
    - downsize the flock
    - provide things to alleviate boredom (for example a cabbage hanging from the ceiling)
    - free ranging (this is really your best bet, assuming you're in an area where free ranging is possible)

    Hope this helps! [​IMG]
     
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    That's feather picking. Molting looks like this, although this hen was going through a hard molt:
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Schwartzfarmnc

    Schwartzfarmnc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could a molt also induce or enhance feather picking all at the same time?
     
  10. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:Yes. Last year my light brahma was the last to molt. Someone was picking at her tail feathers trying to come in. I could see the blood from the broken shafts of the pins. I ended up using "no pick" and her tail feathers finally grew in. No issues since.
     

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