Plucked clean

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kartking22, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. kartking22

    kartking22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My birds have resorted to plucking feathers out of each other and eating them. I lost several chicks because of this. I find the birds dead with all of the small feathers gone and the guts eaten. Pecked out through the butt. None of the meat gone. Just the small feathers and guts. Chicks are 10 weeks old. It may be a lack of something that they need. Any ideas?????
     
  2. CarlaRiggs

    CarlaRiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    It could be several things (unfortunately), or a combination.
    There may be a protein deficiency which promotes eating feathers. Are the pullets eating the feathers, or simply plucking them? Feed them a high protein feed, with treats once or twice a day. Mine like raisins, tomatoes and raisins. Nothing fancy, and not too much at any time.
    The chickens may need a larger area, with things to examine, a place to scratch, interesting bugs, roosting areas, etc. Are they bored? And is there room to stretch their wings and get up onto something instead of being only on the ground.
    Are all the chickens participating in this, or is there one or two pullets that are bullying the others?
    My four pullets are kept in a coop which is always open to a 5'x14' run. In the early afternoon they're let out to run/fly around and ruin my plants. [​IMG] I keep their feeder full and they always have clean water. I'm surprised at how much St. Augustine grass they eat! They love to receive worms & crickets, wheat and other goodies.

    I'm sorry the hens have developed this nasty habit. You may have to divide them and see if you can contain it somewhat.

    Good luck! And please let us know how things go.

    Carla
     
  3. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    Eating the feathers is a sure sign of methionine deficiency... provide a supplement to correct this. The cannabilism is difficult once it has gotten that far which is why you should supplement at the first sign of trouble and separate those birds who are agressive .
    ETA: here is an article you might find helpful:
    http://msucares.com/poultry/management/poultry_pecking.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2008
  4. kartking22

    kartking22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I forgot to mention that the birds are pheasants. I don't know if this makes any difference. I put a 50# bag of oyster shell in the pen and it seemed to help. I'm wondering if they were seeking calcium in thier diet as well. I also threw in some beef scraps that I got from the local butcher for some extra protien. I have been feeding them pheasant pellets that I have purchased from the local feed store. I have noticed that the pecking has declined and segregated the chicks with bloodied backsides. I did lose one hen yesterday but reason is unknown. Feathers were mostly there but the intestinal canibalism was still a factor. Would trace mineral salt be helpful?
     
  5. tiki244

    tiki244 Flock Mistress

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    I dont know about the trace mineral, but go light on the beef. A little can be good, but more than that could cause other problems.
     
  6. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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  7. bearzhere

    bearzhere New Egg

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    I also raise pheasant. I am wondering if you have lighting on for them. Some people put clear heat lamps on. I have read that this promotes cannibalism. I only use red heat lamps and I have hatched and raised about 120 pheasant this past season and have not had this problem. Good Luck!
     

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