One of my hens has picked up a bad habit - Feather Pecking. How to stop?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by donnavee, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2009
    Central NC
    I have a 10 mo old EE pullet, beautiful girl that lays a pretty blue/green egg. However, recently I noticed 3 of my other EEs are missing most of their beards and muffs - no blood but you can see bear skin. I caught her in the act and what makes it so bad is that they just stand there and let her pull out the feathers. I thought maybe it was because yogurt got in their beards so I stopped feeding it but she still continues.

    I got her and 3 other EEs last April and those seem to be the only ones she bothers. I have a mixed flock of 20 chickens and they free range on at least a quarter of an acre so boredom is not the problem. Since the area she targets is so close to the eyes, I am afraid to put any of the anti-peck stuff on the girls being targeted.

    Any suggestions besides rehoming her?
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  2. Domestic_goddess

    Domestic_goddess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2009
    Utah
    I would could consider the anti pick spray first, it might help. Then consider giving your flock a little more calcium, seems like they are missing something in ther diet perhaps. Oyster shells are the best source of calcium for them.

    Also a little Chicken time out might do the trick as well, seperate her from the flock. Good luck!
     
  3. Uzuri

    Uzuri Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    EE muffs are such a target -- it's like the other chickens are saying "Hey, honey, you've got something on your face. Let me get that."

    I've found with my picking problems that targeting the culprit and not the victims is the solution. Remove her from the flock temporarily. Get the EEs' feathers growing back. Watch for others who may have picked up the trouble.

    If after a nice long vacation she still goes straight for them, try pinless peepers.

    I'll tell you the truth, though, my final solution ended up to be getting rid of the problem hen... who turned out to not be the one doing the pecking. Stress can come from many sources, and it turned out the the stress in my group was from an evil alpha hen. Removed her, removed the stress, and the picking stopped. So be sure that there's not a more subtle cause out there.
     
  4. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2009
    Central NC
    Thanks for the responses. I don't think lack of calcium could be a problem since they are on layer pellets, with oyster shell on the side. I also give them their eggs shells. They also get plenty of protein - all the bugs they can find suplemented with meal worms and roaches as well as hard boiled egg treats a couple of times a week. I also give them chopped greens like lettuce and kale almost daily.

    We don't have a rooster and the head chicken is actually a pretty sweet Australorp. Since I'm home all day I do get to watch the flock dynamics pretty closely and rarely see any of them challenging each other. I guess will isolating her for a while and if it continues will try to find her a good home. [​IMG]
     

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