Open Sores and Tail Feather Picking (Second Year Blues)


5 Years
Jun 9, 2014
This is my second year doing cornish cross meat birds. Last year was my first attempt, I ended up with 48 of 50 big healthy clean birds. This year is not going nearly as well and I am having issues I didn't have last year.

My setup is a 10 x 10 x 2.5 ft mobile chicken tractor, solid walls/roof on half and open on the other (wire mesh). Along one side is a 10 ft rain gutter filled with feed and on the other is 10ft of watering nipples. The tractor is moved in the morning and evening to fresh grass. The only change to my setup would be the bird source; last year was a local hatchery geared toward the commercial market but through a contact will sell 'surplus' if available. This year was from an online source. Feed is a broiler grower, same as last year, that meets the specs posted in the forums.

I am having a much higher fatality rate this year up to 8 at week 4. The birds have few feathers on their bodies, wings are covered but their bodies are nearly naked. This may lead to the next issue which is sores on some of their rears, I believe the initial cause is a scratch from another bird jumping on them, the scratch then grows to become an open sore. The other big issue is tail feather picking to the point of bloody tails with no feathers, I have never witnessed this first hand but notice damage in the mornings.

Any advice on what I could do different would be appreciated.

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