Picking problem? Here are a few tips to help treat it or prevent it!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by The Mother Hen, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. The Mother Hen

    The Mother Hen Chirping

    Jul 10, 2013
    Ok, I know there are people with picking problems and might be new to it. I will help with a few tips and tricks to help your birds gain their beautiful feathers back. I will add some more reasons and cures when I think of them. If you have any yourself you can tell me and I will gladly post your ideas.
    Disclaimer: I am not a vet, this is advice from my experience and from what I learned. You may ignore these guidelines or you may take them for what it is, advice.

    Reason and cures as to why birds might pick.

    1. CHICKENS MIGHT BE TOO CROWDED. Some people who are new to having chickens think that chickens do not need to run around. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Chickens need tons of room in order to keep themselves happy and not crowded. If your coop is too small for the flock, either get rid of some hens or expand your coop. Remember that your hens and roosters grow, so the bigger the chicken the larger and taller the chicken run and coop needs to be. In the factories the hens are stuffed together and get into plenty of fights, which I am sure you do now want.

    2. MITES! These pesky creatures are practically hard to see. If you suspect a bird or birds to have mites, get a magnifying glass and check at the shaft of the feather (the white part that holds the skin and feather together. You might find some critter scurry off when you reveal her feathers, and it could be mites. You can use something called DE to prevent the mites, but I am not sure how to cure them since I never had this problem.

    3. LACK OF PROTEIN. This is a simple thing that can be cured, but it takes time. Chickens are omnivorous, meaning they eat veggies, grain and meat. If your hens are not getting protein you can crush up a few of their eggs into their feed and mix it in. Do not mix it in while in the coop or they will attack the eggs before you get the chance to mix it in. MAKE SURE THE EGGS ARE CRUSHED FINELY! Some chickens tend to become egg eaters and you do not need that on top of having picked chickens. Use the eggs in about once every three weeks and then twice every two weeks. Instead of eggs, you can always get vanilla or plain yogurt and mix that into their feed. Make SURE it has the active enzymes in it because it will not only satisfy them, but it helps to fortify their intestine as well.

    What if a chicken is bleeding badly from picking?

    GET HER INTO A DIFFERENT AREA OF THE COOP! You do NOT want a hen that's bleeding, because she can get bullied from the other hens which can cause severe injury or even death. If you do not have an extra coop, you can always separate the coop with fencing by splitting the coop area in half or in thirds depending how many chickens are bleeding badly. Do not think that the hens will leave her alone, chickens hate the sight of blood and will keep picking at her. If you have a hen that relentlessly terrorizes the flock and keeps picking, either get rid of her or eat her. It is best that the hen is kept in an area close (but not with) the other chickens, so the flock can at least see her and she can see the flock. This will help with any re-introducing that will need to go on if you completely separate the injured bird. Remember, chickens love to be next to each other even if they are separated by a fence.

    I've done some of these suggestions for awhile yet the feathers are still not growing back in!

    I say patience my friend, feathers that have been picked for a long time tend to grow back slowly, especially if most of their feathers are gone. You will see new feathers after many months for some, so keep patient and keep working on it.

    Signs of picking: [​IMG] Ragged or rough looking feathers, bald spots near the tail and wings. A hen that picks will pluck a feather from behind and will usually eat it, that's why you don't find many feathers on the ground. Bloody hens or roosters need to be kept in a different area of the coop or in a different pen so they have time to heal.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Pecking order issues can be seen as picking as well. Most of the time they work it out on their own. However, the lowest birds in the pecking order may obtain injuries and will have to be attended to.
    Bullying is another cause of picking. Removing and isolating the bully for 5-7 days usually works. The bully is knocked down a few notches in the pecking order and is humbled.
    1 person likes this.
  3. The Mother Hen

    The Mother Hen Chirping

    Jul 10, 2013
    Thank you so much for that input! I knew I was missing something!

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