One of my chickens is pulling another ones neck feathers out...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by susanah, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. susanah

    susanah Songster

    Mar 23, 2009
    They are 10 months old and have all been raised together. Don't know if this is relevant or not but they quit laying about a month ago. Thought maybe they were molting because of all the feathers laying around just wondering if they were yanked out. ps...I'm new at this. : )

  2. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Songster

    Aug 21, 2009
    I am no expert but I do remember reading head and neck feathers are one of the first to go when molting. So could be just molting.
    The question is are they too young or is it not the right season for a molt at this time of year? [​IMG]
    I also read roosters sometimes rip out the hen's neck feathers when mating (in a addition to back feathers getting raked up).
    Any wounds seen with this as well or just feathers falling out?
    Are they all happy and healthy otherwise?
    What are you feeding them?
  3. Andi

    Andi Songster

    I'm in my first year of chickens also. Molting is a possibility. The first thing I'd look for is if the one that is missing feathers from her neck is for any injuries. I've read that chickens will continue to peck at them. The second thing that came to mind is if they are getting all the nutrients they need. I recall reading that feather plucking could mean either a calcium or protein deficiency. Sorry, but I don't recall which it was for sure. I hope its just a molting. Best of luck!
  4. susanah

    susanah Songster

    Mar 23, 2009
    I guess my post wasn't clear. We actually saw the chicken yanking out the other chickens neck feathers. Didn't know if the molting had anything to do with the behaviour...if they are indeed molting.

  5. jebelious

    jebelious In the Brooder

    Jan 12, 2010
    UK - Midlands
    from my experience our chickens would groom each other daily, so if they are molting then they may just be helping it along.
  6. BWchicken

    BWchicken Songster

    Jun 4, 2009
    What kind of feed are you using? If the chicken is not only pulling out, but actually eating the feathers, that is usually a sign that they're needing more protein. If that's the case you can try to boost protein by feeding a little starter or grower feed (unmedicated), or what I've used is a product called Calf Manna. It's a high protein supplement you can get in small bags at TSC. It's a pellet, pinkish-red in color and smells like licorice, the chickens love it. Just follow the guidelines on the bag and don't give them too much. This is a good supplement to give them during a molt too.

    If your chicken is just plucking out the feathers but not eating them, then I'm not sure what might be causing it, but it's most commonly boredom or over-crowding or maybe the feather pattern just looks interesting. Or if they're molting it's possible they're grooming each other, although I think 10 months is a little young for a full blown molt, but if you're seeing feathers everywhere they may be going through a mini molt. Also, it's not uncommon for them to slow down or stop laying during the winter to give their bodies a well deserved break so they can get geared up for laying in the spring.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  7. paintedsavvy

    paintedsavvy Chicken Kisser

    May 24, 2009
    Orem, UT
    I have 3 little Banty Easter Eggers and the most dominant of the 3 has pulled out the "beards" on the other 2 gals. I watched her do it when they were all around eating. Could just be a dominance thing.

  8. RocketDad

    RocketDad Songster

    Jul 25, 2008
    Near US 287
    When my Fayoumis was molting at the beginning of winter the other hens picked the loose feathers off her neck. I guess they triggered on the "differentness" of the molting feathers, just like when they peck at the paint-spatters on my shoes.

    They left her alone when the feathers started growing in.

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