Pullets eating each other’s bum feathers

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BrandonVercnocke, Feb 20, 2019.

  1. BrandonVercnocke

    BrandonVercnocke Songster

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    Just got back from a long weekend getaway and noticed my Easter Egger has a bare patch and a few little scans on her thigh covered by her wing. Then yesterday I noticed my blue Australop and blrw plucking and eating bum feathers from the other girls.

    My first though was low protein and I need more roosts. I threw out some meal worms in hopes to stop it as of now. The feed I have them on is 16% protein from Home Grown. Any suggestions for a 19 or higher feed that is readily available?

    I had removed the roosts because when my first bird started laying she would lay from a high roost and break the eggs. Now all consistently laying in the boxes I think it’s tome to put them back up
     
  2. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Almy Acres Farm

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    First of all, what are you feeding your flock? Feathers are protein. Secondly, spray some BluKote on the the bare area of your EE to prevent further pecking. If there is any blood, pecking will continue, leading to cannibalizing.
     
    kwhites634 likes this.
  3. BrandonVercnocke

    BrandonVercnocke Songster

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    Thank you! So second paragraph in my post says I’m feeding them layer crumbles from the brand Home Grown which is 16% protein.
     
  4. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Almy Acres Farm

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    Sorry, I missed that. You really should up the protein level to 18-20%. A grower or all flock feed with oyster shell is recommended.
     
    BrandonVercnocke likes this.
  5. Redhead Rae

    Redhead Rae Chickens, chickens everywhere!

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    I agree with @Chick-N-Fun. I feed a 19% grower broiler year around (calcium on the side) and I haven't had any problems with feather picking since switching from a 16% layer.
     
  6. BrandonVercnocke

    BrandonVercnocke Songster

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    Ok that’s what I was thinking too. Thank you so much. It’s realy frustrating to put all this thought and effort into keeping happy and beautiful birds only to have them pluck bald spots on each other. :barnie
     
    Kelliejanine and Chick-N-Fun like this.
  7. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Almy Acres Farm

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    You are welcome! Good luck with your flock! :highfive:
     
    BrandonVercnocke likes this.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Yes, higher protein feed...and some animal protein supplements(mealworms or canned fish can be less in fat, not to mention way less expensive).
    I'd skip the blukote....it won't stop them from pecking, can actually attract pecking and over preening, and is a mess.

    Is your coop/run crowded?
    Sometimes feather picking becomes a habit and an entertainment.
    I've watched EE's stand still and pluck each others beards right off.
     
  9. kwhites634

    kwhites634 Slow hands & an easy touch

    I'd switch to 20%, which should be available in a farm equipment/feed chain, or is here, anyway
     
    Chick-N-Fun likes this.
  10. imnukensc

    imnukensc Songster

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    I'd skip the blukote, too. Didn't do anything to stop the pecking in my experience and is a dadgum mess. I'd for sure put roosts back in the coop and feed a little higher protein feed.
     

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