My hens are driving me crazy

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Crazy4Chicks, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. Crazy4Chicks

    Crazy4Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2007
    Glendale, AZ
    I have given them more protein, fresh veggies, oatmeal, layer pellets, scratch grains for treats and of course fresh water.

    Why are they still eating feathers ???? I have already lost one hen to impacted crop full of feathers.

    I have looked for black sunflower seed oil - have not found any - have no clue what to look for - is it an oil or is it just black sunflowers ??

    they are getting worse with this feather eating thing - they are picking the feathers off each other sometimes 3-4 at a time

    what am I doing wrong ?? I thought it was a lack of protein thing - so I have been giving them as much protein as I can - feeder fish, worms from the fishing dept at wal*mart - cat food -

    [​IMG]

    Julie
     
  2. Gersbud

    Gersbud Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2007
    Central Michigan
    I don't really know what to tell you on how to stop your chickens from plucking each others feathers but I do know that you are looking for Black Oil Sunflower Seeds. Mine were doing that but they just stopped just as fast as they started. [​IMG]
     
  3. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Hi Julie - Gersbud's correct - they're called Black Oil Sunflower Seeds and they are whole, in the shell, black sunflower seeds. Rich in protein and other vitamins they need. My 13 chickens eat a couple of cups a day of them and love them.

    As far as feather picking/cannibalism - how many do you have in how small a space? I truly believe they need to be able to run and scratch and forage and generally wear themselves out. If they can't free range or get a larger run, try throwing/scattering food on ground so they can scratch and dig for it. I don't use feeding pans because I want my chicks and chickens to learn to scratch and forage because they free range. I throw a mixture of layer pellets, black oil sunflower seeds, and scratch in their run each morning and again at sunset, also my kitchen container of whatever leftovers, veggies, fruits and their favorite shredded cheese. They come running to eat, gobble it all up and run back out to free range.
     
  4. lexapurple

    lexapurple Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 8, 2008
    I don't know if those are the right ones but I bought Black Sunflower Seed Harts and Chips from my local store which sells bird food for birdfeeders. They also have ones in shells. My girls love it.
     
  5. Crazy4Chicks

    Crazy4Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2007
    Glendale, AZ
    I am not able to let my girls free range - we are way to close to neighbors, busy road,dogs,cats - so I gave my girls the biggest run I was able to. it "step" measures 35 1/2 feet one way and 34 feet the other way - and there are 14 standard hens , 1 banty hen, and 1 banty roo in there - so I was hoping that was enough room LOL the two banty's are going to be getting there own run sometime this spring/summer.

    my girls eat thier food out of a large dog dish - so maybe I will start throwing it around a little more and make them work for it. I give mine treats like cheese , oatmealand a few other goodies from a large bowl- today they had apples that I threw all over the run and made them work for it.
    I have seen soild black sunflower seeds - but was not sure those were the right ones [​IMG] LOL but I will go back and get them.

    I also gave them millet sprays from the pet dept. I threw them all over the place and the girls would NOT go near them for awhile than all it took was one brave girl to try it and it was all over for the millet - they tore it up runing around with it

    thank you for the advice I am just so SCARED to lose another hen to them eating feathers.

    Julie
     
  6. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Hey Julie - for a real show get some live crickets (from bait shop) and throw those in there. It's hilarious. If you want to be really mean throw them down one at a time and watch all the chickens chase the one who caught it. Like watching a game of well, "cricket" as the British call it. I even feed them to my baby chicks. Funnest thing I've even seen and well worth the $2 entertainment fee.

    Sounds like your run is plenty large enough but maybe they just don't have enough to do to burn off steam. I think scattering food on the ground will help them to burn some energy.
     
  7. CUDA

    CUDA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 4, 2008
    Michigan
    If you like watching them go after crickets, try mice! lol Anyway, typically hens pick feathers on the roost in my experience. Make sure you have plenty of room for them to roost without being packed together too tight. You can also put extra roosts outside, and obstacles for them to deal with in the run area. Basically, keep them entertained. I absolutely agree about not feeding in a dish. Take your dish out, through a bunch of straw in your run, and throw the food on the ground to make them dig it out. One other thing that is just as important as protein levels, are making sure they have plenty of greens to eat. If you don't have access to green feed in the winter months, supplement some alfalfa pellets in your feed. Good luck, and hope some of this helps you out!
     
  8. nccountrygirl

    nccountrygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 31, 2007
    Sanford N.C.
    Crazy, WalMart sells BOSS.
     
  9. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Quote:Ohh couldn't do mice. I'd be turning them into pets and buying those huge maze playgrounds for them. [​IMG] It's getting to where I feel bad for the crickets.

    I have, however found 2 dead mice in the hen house/coop this past week. A rather large one, dead on its back in middle of coop, multiple peck wounds. What do you think the odds are that it died of natural causes like that? And a second small one in water bin - guess it saw the other one get pecked to death and decided to drown itself instead. [​IMG]
     
  10. CUDA

    CUDA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 4, 2008
    Michigan
    I live in a very rural area, and mice are a constant battle. I use live traps in the house, and when I get one, I stun it a little, then chuck it in the chicken pen. It is a riot, they sometimes go at it playing "cricket" for an hour! Plus, no sense wasting some good ol protein! lol
     

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