One hen picking/eating other hens feathers

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sunshine0629, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. sunshine0629

    sunshine0629 New Egg

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    Good morning, we have five hens two are Buff Orpingtons, one Plymouth barred rock, and two araucanas. Four of the five are laying and they are six months old. I have one BO not laying but I expect soon she will. So my question is one of my BO is very sneaky about picking and eating the soft fluffy feathers off of the the other hens around the vent area. We have tried many things to stop her and so far no luck. We can't let them free range due to no fence around the property and many predators in the area. Also these birds are my children's pets so I can't cull her either. As for things we have tried: pinless peepers, adding things of interest to the run, and yesterday we added BOSS. She is mainly picking on one of the araucanas. She use to pick on both but one stood her ground and now is left alone. I am worried about the shy lovable araucana that won't stand her ground. Does anyone have any advise. Also the BO picking feathers is the one that is laying. She actually just started a few days ago but the feather picking/eating started about a week and half ago.
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    What is the protein% of the food you have them on? Have you tried upping the %? Have you tried the anti feather picking sprays? You might try separating the picker for a little while and see if that changes her status in the pecking order, or she forgets about picking. How bad is she picking them bald? I sometimes think they start this when some of the other hens lay shelless eggs the hens see and the other hens learn they are good to eat.
     
  3. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

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    featherpicking is a tough habit to break. usually related to bordeom, stress, or inadequate protein. There is a commercial product called rooster pick no more that you can spray on the hens being picked on.

    You didn't mention how much space they have - if you feel it is inadequate (less than 10 feet per bird if that is where they spend their waking hours), you will want to increase it if you can. You can also try adding layers of space - maybe some more roosts or ways to get up off the ground
     
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    X2, I would definitely be looking at how much run space is available to them. Busy chickens with lots of room generally won't be feather pickers. Too small a space and they get bored, get on each other's nerves and come up with things to do. Like picking. You can try giving them things to do, like a flock block to pick at, toss in some flakes of alfalfa hay for them to scratch apart and eat the leaves, lawn clippings to scratch through, that sort of thing. Dried meal worms tossed in with those things gives them something to forage for, keeps them busy for a while. Also a nice protein boost.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Agreed: increase the protein, give them diversion, be sure they have enough space.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Space.

    Why did the peepers not work?
     
  7. sunshine0629

    sunshine0629 New Egg

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    May 7, 2013
    Thank you all for responding. The run we have them in is 16x8 and we have 5 hens. Plus the hen house is 8x4 and it is raised off the the ground so they have that area under the hen house as well. I am feeding them Nutrena nature wise and it has 16% protein. The pecking is bad on one bird and just minimal on the others. Actually one of our hens who was really getting pecked finally stood up for herself and attacked the pecking hen back. So the one bird who is getting pecked the most is bald around her vent and down towards her legs about 2 inches from the top of the vent. I tried to put the peepers on but her comb is in the way and the vents in her nose are just slits so we couldn't get them in the holes properly. We actually thought we had them on her but when we let her go she went crazy scratching at it then after a few seconds scratched them right off. I like the idea of adding Alfa hay and meal worms this may help with boredom. I will also look into the spray for them. I had actually forgot about the flock block. Maybe with these things she will stop. I guess time will tell.
     
  8. cheekyhens

    cheekyhens Out Of The Brooder

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    I also have a picking problem, does anyone know if the pinless peepers get in the way of them eating/drinking? My water set-up is the PVC nipple set up that's off the ground (about a foot or so), food is the same although they do eat stuff of off the ground as well. Anyone have luck with the peepers?
     

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