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Picking pin feathers

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by bt03, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. bt03

    bt03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 1, 2011
    Over the rainbow...
    I have a very naughty Khaki that is Picking the pinfeathers of my Pekins. He never picked any of the other ducks or the chicken that lives with him but he picks the Pekins. I notices when they started that their pins looked like a bright pink color but I can't catch and cover 5 Pekins every day to get him to stop. Should I just separate him until the feathers come out of the pin? But how long will it take the feathers to come out? i can honestly say I never checked with the others because there was no need to really. Or would it be better to buy some blue coat and just coat their feathers until they come in fully? I'm so confused...
     
  2. bt03

    bt03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 1, 2011
    Over the rainbow...
    I rinsed the wing pin feathers and put some antibiotic on them. Then I put some Wonderdust on the pins that were bleeding and a bit extra on them so that they wouldn't be bright anymore. I can't get some blue coat until tomorrow so I really hope this helps. And after catching them I figured out for sure I have 2 girls and 3 boys. that brings the total I have to 3 girls and 4 boys. I'm going to have to rehome 2 boys and get 2 girls to replace them for a total of 5 girls and 2 boys. Is that a good ratio or should I get an extra girl?
     
  3. 70%cocoa

    70%cocoa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Canberra, Australia
    5 girls and 2 boys would probably work fine, provided the drakes are not too over-enthusiastic with the ducks in breeding season. You could start with that number and see how you go.

    Ducks explore the world with their mouths. They love to nibble at things. In the wild they'd be exploring and nibbling all day long. Also, pin feathers are tasty and made of protein and blood. If the ducks don;t have anything else to explore with their bills then they will start nibbling their sibling's feathers and suddenly you have a feather picking problem. So in addition to what you have done already I'd:
    - Have a look at the size of the brooder/pen you have them in. Is it big enough so that they are not overcrowded? Not sure how old your birds are but at 4 weeks you can fit about 6 per 10 square feet. At 6 weeks only 4 per 10 square feet. After 3 weeks they should have access to a bigger (predator proof) outdoor area during warm days. I got those figures from Holderread's books.
    - Do they have enough interesting stuff in their environment to entertain them? Bedding that they can snuffle around in? Mushed up peas and chopped greens to nibble? Regular supervised swimming time so they get exercise and are not bored? Try hanging a few bird toys or cat toys in their pen/brooder for them to play with.
    - Do they have food that is suitable for ducklings their age, to make sure they are getting the nutrients they need?

    You can separate the Khaki if the other things don't work but rather than taking him/her right away (which will be distressing for the duckling) maybe just section off a little area with wire mesh (with separate food and water) so they can still interact but not eat the others' feathers.

    I hope that is useful and that you can solve the problem. It sounds like you have got onto it fast so good job there [​IMG]
     
  4. bt03

    bt03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Over the rainbow...
    Thank you so much Cocoa! They have about a 1435 sq ft front yard that they share with one Cornish X chicken but they don't have anything to really nibble on the ground. They seem to have eaten all the weeds but no more are growing because of the drought we have right now. I didn't know that they could have cat toys so that is on the list of things to get tomorrow. They do have a kiddie pool that they have access to all day (they are about 10 weeks, not to sure). They are on DuMor finisher and they get fresh veggies every day when I get home but maybe I need to leave them out during the day so that they have something else to play with. Thanks again for the reply I feel a bit relieved about it now.
     
  5. 70%cocoa

    70%cocoa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Canberra, Australia
    Well, it sure sounds like space is not a problem [​IMG] If they are in a 1435 sq ft secure yard that is plenty of room, plus a swimming pool all day. However if the yard is otherwise bare then boredom may still be an issue. They are a few weeks older than I had thought they might be but you could still try hanging things up for them to play with. Even a bunch of pieces of rope knotted at one end....just something for them to pull on and mouth. They will probably enjoy fraying the rope. They seem to just like to pull on and destroy stuff, LOL. If you cover the ground with some organic material (mulch, leaves, chopped straw etc) this will keep them busy sifting through the litter for bugs. Make it a nice deep layer, a few inches if you can (or else if you don't have enough to cover the run just put it in one half or quarter of the run). Since overcrowding and diet are not an issue I'd just try the mulch and also hanging stuff up and see how that goes. They may be afraid of too many strange, new hanging things in their pen so just start with one or two things (not near their pond or food) and see how they respond. If that doesn't work then maybe separate the naughty one till all the wing feathers are through.

    I am pretty cautious about predators so I guess I'd only leave them out if you think they will be safe when you're not there.
     
  6. bt03

    bt03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 1, 2011
    Over the rainbow...
    Would it be ok to try some pool toys like rubber duckies? I wonder if they might like those and a couple cat toys around the yard for starters. I have a mulch patch growing in the back with plenty of bugs so that will be moved to the front today so they can dig and maybe that will help keep Dips occupies and leave everyone else alone.

    Since I lost 4 a few months ago to predators we are very careful now. We killed a fox and a coyote about 2 weeks ago which was a big relief. They are secured in the yard all day, the bottom of the fencing is concreted into the ground about 2 1/2 feet, so no digging in and they are in their house a little after dusk, then locked up like Ft. Knox. The only predator I have to worry about right now is Dips and his picking [​IMG]
     
  7. 70%cocoa

    70%cocoa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 24, 2011
    Canberra, Australia
    Yes, I'd try all those things. Moving the mulch pile should be a huge hit with them - they'll love it. The pool toys etc. won't hurt and will hopefully give your naughty boy something else to think about [​IMG] It sounds like you have a great set-up for your ducks and that they are very well cared for [​IMG]
     

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