Plucking each other

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CrazyFowlFreak, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. CrazyFowlFreak

    CrazyFowlFreak Pine Hill Farm

    Apr 24, 2009
    WV
    I have 5 layer hens. They've been together since they were hatched. First we had roosters plucking their backs bare, so I got rid of the roos, then we had a 6th hen plucking their backs and heads, she's gone. They are still plucking each other and I've tried everything. Better food, more treats, less treats, Blue Kote, even built a bigger coop for them. It is so awful to look at, there are no mites, lice, etc, either. What to do in this situation? DH wants to throw them in the pot and start over in spring. Also, they stopped laying when we moved them to the bigger, nicer coop. Ugh!
     
  2. xanaxnation

    xanaxnation Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2008
    mine picked at each other when they were in the brooder, but as soon as they moved outside, they stopped. maybe they're stressed by something...poor girls [​IMG]
     
  3. CrazyFowlFreak

    CrazyFowlFreak Pine Hill Farm

    Apr 24, 2009
    WV
    That's the thing, I cannot figure out what it could be. They get fresh food and water and treats every day. They are in a 40X150 fenced in area with a coop and attached run, but get let out to free-range in the 40X150ft. area at 6am every morning. Their coop is 6X8ft. and their run is 4X8ft. and 6ft. tall. Oh, also they are the only chickens that get to be out in the fenced-in area, the Silkies stay in the coop and run, but don't get free-range time unless they are taken up to the house to be loved on inside.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  4. embrown

    embrown Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 18, 2009
    I hope that someone answers your question. I have had the same problem, tried blue coat...it makes them look simply awful and leaves streaks on the eggs. I tried pine tar...it makes them stink, holds dust in their feathers, gets on everything and did not stop the pecking. I refuse to trim their beaks, it is cruel. Folks told me too get more space, so we did. We even took one out because she was being hurt, she heeled up so introduced her back and took out another, she heeled but could not assimilate back to the flock of 6 birds. Then another got picked too bad so I devided the very large dog crate with cardboard and had two girls in it as their coop and let them free range in the day. Then they got through the board and are friends and both nicely feathered out. Then the first bird is again all pecked on her feathers of the wings and her chest. We lost the worst bully to an internal laying problem. So, now there is only 3 birds in a 6x8 indoor coop, 3x8 porch with wire bottom so they can get fresh air but be out of the rain and off the snow in the winter, and then a 4x8 run that is grass and dirt. We are in the process of building a bigger run. We also let them out in the day when we are outside to free range. They have grit and shell as free choice and water is changed at least twice per day. The two birds, far more confined do not peck each other. I gave them lots of treats to peck out, logs to climb on, steps to hop up and down, suet to peck, fresh clippings and veggies. I added in protein through a mash of yogurt and grower feed about 2 tablespoons daily. I recently added boss, but the 3 in the coop are still bare bottomed and sattles, and the one is pecked on the wings and legs. We see no real bully. So, if you can get some suggestions, we will gladly try them too They are all so sweet to us we hold them, they come right to us, they never peck the kids even when they stick fingers in the wire, they are gentle to people. Something has to change. .
     
  5. sotelomary

    sotelomary Chillin' With My Peeps

    I had the same problem and someone here told me to up their protein. My chickens wouldn't eat dry cat food so they recommended that I buy the higher protein feed and mix it 50/50 with my layer pellets. I had to special order it but it worked! I think my pellets were 16% and the protein feed I ordered was maybe 20%? I vaguely remember that when mixed it brought the protein up to 18%.

    When I ran out of it I noticed that after a couple weeks the chickens went back to plucking feathers. As soon as I got some more they stopped again. So I think it does work.

    Good luck,
    Mary
     

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