One hen is constantly pecking feathers of others

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by momofthree, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. momofthree

    momofthree Songster

    Jan 5, 2010
    Skiatook, OK
    My welsummer pullet approximately 8 weeks old, i noticed today and yesterday is constantly pecking feathers out of all the other chickens....why is this? at first, i thought she was just being bossy, but she even went after the welsummer roo and really got a good hold of his neck feathers and gave him a good tug that he couldn't quickly get away from. She does pick on my production red pullets the most, pulling out a tail feather and running over by herself...chews on it a bit and then goes looking for a new victim.....

    all the chickens are still on medicated chick starter, they have grit available and are also in an outside run with grass and rocks and pebbles.....

    i haven't noticed any chicken actually "injured" from this but she does this almost constantly to one chick or another, preferring though the production reds over the EE's for some reason.

    any ideas as to why and do i need to do anything different with feed and/or separate her in any way?
  2. She might be after the protein. Try supplementing with mashed hard boiled eggs or some mealworms. If it isn't a protein issue, she may just be bored. Make sure there is a dust bath area, maybe some branches to get up on. i've heard some folks hang a cabbage as a pecking treat. If none of those things help, it may be an aggression issue. In that case, i would separate or rehome her.
  3. Jeremy Parker

    Jeremy Parker In the Brooder

    May 25, 2010
    This sure sounds like a protien issue.

    Try the boiled eggs if that does not work try some liver this has worked for me in the past!!

    Keep an eye out though, if this persists its likely a behavior issue??

  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Some are worse for it than others. If all are on the same feed, then I doubt protein issue, unless you are giving them scratch. I have one grown hen who always plucks the roosters saddle, hackle and chest feathers. She has excellent protein intake, but she is in a habit and just always does it.

    Most chickens will scarf up small feathers off the ground, even if they have a good diet. If you're concerned, add scrambled/boiled chopped eggs and/or canned salmon to their diet, but I seriously doubt it's protein related unless you are feeding them lots of treats and scratch. At 8 weeks, they need nothing except starter made for their age, and "treats" that consist of high protein items.
  5. momofthree

    momofthree Songster

    Jan 5, 2010
    Skiatook, OK
    the only treats i give them, they don't realise are treats. strawberries and lettuce and stay away from them like the plague [​IMG] my son tosses some worms in there every so often they LOVe that. and i see them eat bugs and such. i don't give them scratch, didn't figure they were old enough....... i will try more protein just in case and keep an eye out. Thanks.
  6. ekemily

    ekemily Songster

    Mar 8, 2010
    Fairhope, AL
    I have a buff rock that does the same thing. She pecks the soft down and eats it. Out of 30 chickens, she is the only one that does this. Should I remove her from my flock? I do not want the others getting any ideas....

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