Pullet plucking and eating other pullet’s feathers ...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CalBickieMomma, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. CalBickieMomma

    CalBickieMomma Songster

    Hello all! I have a 22 week old RIR pullet who has been on and off again plucking and eating the feathers of her flock mates (same age). First she was targeting my Silver Laced Polish (maybe a month and a half ago) to the point they avoided both my RIRs like the plague, then she stopped picking on them. A little bit later, she targeted one of my Easter Eggers for about the same amount of time (1-2 weeks), then stopped. Now she’s back to going after my Polish again - just pulling out lower back feathers and eating them. It doesn’t look like she’s done too much damage on anyone but the poor victims seem terrorized and it’s got to hurt them :hit.

    The RIR has been laying since the first of the month, so I’m wondering if I need to be offering them more protein. They get All Flock (which I think is 18% protein) and I don’t think they’re stressed and definitely not crowded (they have a coop and run that is roughly 300 sq ft combined shared between 13 chickens). I also have a dish of oyster shells available to them. It’s possible they are a bit bored (I eventually want to install a chicken swing and jungle gym for them, but at the moment they have their coop perches and an old small tree skeleton to perch on), but it’s just the one pullet who seems picky.

    Could it be they just need a little more protein (especially those who have started laying)?

    Thanks for any feedback!
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    Protein might help a little but 18% IMO is enough.

    More than just boredom busting, adding hiding places in the run space will help to give the picked on birds more options to get away. This thread: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/ has some great suggestions and examples on how to add helpful clutter.
  3. CalBickieMomma

    CalBickieMomma Songster

    Thanks! My one Polish was hanging out in the coop on the nesting box perch today, and I’ve found them both in there before on the main perch. I’ll see what I can find to add to the run as soon as possible. There is an old plastic patio chair in there that they like to hang out on (when they haven’t knocked it over ;)).

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