Plan for chicken that has been almost eaten by her flock mates!!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 7L Farm, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My ten hens have been eating each others feathers to no end. Finally, one girl looked so bad I decided I would isolate her & let her feathers grow back. Its a very slow go. Then once she's got her feathers back I'll do it to the next one & so on. Think it will work? I'm tired of looking at bald chickens. They all wear saddles but the chickens still eat the feathers just in a different spot.
     
  2. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

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    I would spend more time trying to figure out why they are eating each others feathers. Is it possible that they are just molting? If that is the case then things will simply work it's self out.

    Otherwise I would wonder about the hens having a nutritional deficiency. If that is a case then it won't matter whether or not you heal up each hen one at a time. As soon as you put them back with the rest of the flock, then same thing will just reoccur. So the the solution to a nutritional deficiency would be to solve it.

    It is also possible that the hens are not being fed enough, or there are too many birds in a space that's not big enough for them. Healthy normal chickens don't eat each others feathers.

    Also I would remove the rooster from the flock for a while. He can handle a bachelor pen for a while. I would place it so that he can see his ladies.
     
  3. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    Quote:X10......... and that is compounded if your birds are of Hatchery stock where their feathers are of poor quality.
     
  4. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They have been doing this forever. Its not a feed issue. Its a habit they acquired at a young age. Their are 10 hens & one roo they live in a 80 sq ft coop with a 150 sq ft run that has auto pop door. They are let out to free range on a hundred acre farm everyday at 9 am & put up at 400 pm. [​IMG] I have another flock that I let out from 400 pm till dark. I don't let them all out because I don't want my other flock looking like their parents.
     
  5. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Mine look terrible between the molting and the randy roo. I don't think I've ever had a pullet that did not eat some feathers. Some people say they need more protein, which is possible. But that never deterred mine from eating feathers. Eventually it stops.

    Maybe try some more protein , and a vitamin.
     
  6. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I feed them not all the time. But here's the list GBS 28 % protein, boiled quail eggs, venision, BOSS, 17% laying pellets, BRAGGS ACV in their water, home grown organic greens from the garden, all the bugs they can find while free ranging & cranberry's these birds eat the best of any bird on the planet. I gave them vitamins didn't help. I've tried peepers, rooster booster, blu-kote, pine tar, vicks, every gimmick there is. I have boxes full of this junk. I hate to kill them they lay eggs & their still my buddies. They just look like they have been at war & lost the battle. I wish I could stop it. But no one knows how.
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Have you ever seen an entire flock wearing pinless peepers? It's a hoot! But often they're the last resort for a flock fixated on picking feathers, and I do believe that's exactly what it is. It's a neurotic impulse in some. When you've ruled out nutritional and environmental causes, that's what you're left with.

    I used them on one feather picker. It took a full year before she slowly lost the urge. I trimmed her upper beak just today to make it less rewarding to try to pluck a feather. So far, she hasn't returned to her old ways.

    If you get the peepers, just don't choose red. Blue or yellow are better neutral colors.
     
  8. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I left them on forever no help.[​IMG]
     
  9. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That picture with their peepers on is too cute!

    I may be over-thinking this, but I have a theory. Bear with me. This could have started as a bad habit that turned into a vicious cycle. Your birds may actually need more protein than most, because they constantly have to grow new feathers. It takes a lot of protein to grow a feather (feathers are protein). So now they're eating the feathers for the protein content, needed for feather-growing, and it becomes an endless cycle of eating feathers, thus needing more protein, thus eating more feathers, and on and on.

    I'm guessing they're filling up on low-protein foods while free ranging and not eating enough protein-enriched feed to end the cycle. You said they sometimes get 28% gamebird feed, and that's a lot, LOT of protein! But are they eating enough of it? Also, the 17% layer alone may not be enough for a bird in constant feather-growing. So if it were me, I would mix their Layer 50/50 with the GBS for awhile and have it available at all times and see if I could somehow encourage them to eat more of it (maybe before free ranging) and see if that helps.

    Like I said, I may be over-thinking it but that's all I can come up with for a possible cause/solution. If that doesn't help then I'm stumped!
    Good luck and keep us posted!
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  10. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You know what I think your on to something here. I thank-you & will try this immediately.
     

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