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pulling & eating feathers

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cuffy64, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. cuffy64

    cuffy64 Hatching

    Nov 21, 2011
    DuBois, Pennsylvania
    About 2 months ago, we acquired 2 Leghorn hens. They were about 6 months old when we got them. After a couple of days, one hen's but was picked clean of the downy feathers around and below her vent, but there were no feathers laying around anywhere. I put blue-kote on her and everything seemed to be ok. When the blue=kote started to wear off, the other hen would not leave her alone. The pecked one wound up with an infection and died. My wife noticed yesterday, the Leghorn hen trying to pull feathers out of guinea's neck and ate what she pulled out.
    We have been trying to get the guinea to roost with the chickens -- that's why we got the chickens for in the first place -- to keep the guinea from roosting in a tree in very cold & rainy weather.
    Any ideas why this one Leghorn is pulling & eating feathers? Our coop is 4 x 8 feet, well lighted, and kept clean.

  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hello, I'm wondering how many chickens you have now. A few things come to mind when there is feather pulling:

    The first thing is, this hen just has a bad habit. Some hens are feather pickers, and I would advise you to re-home her, or turn her into a nice soup. She will make the rest of the flock miserable.

    Another thing is, she may need more protein. Feathers are made mostly of protein, so chickens that aren't getting enough protein in their diet will sometimes eat feathers. If you're feeding your hens a good layer feed, this shouldn't be an issue.

    Another thing is space.....Crowded chickens often pull feathers because they become agressive when they're over crowded and unhappy.

    The easiest solution would be to get rid of that agressive hen. Especially since she's pretty much killed that other hen, and now she's starting on your guinea.....

    Whatever you decide, hope everything works out for you,

  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Quote:All good points, what % protein are you feeding the chickens? What % of their total feed intake is chicken feed and what % treats?
  4. LaurelRidgeDreams

    LaurelRidgeDreams Songster

    Jan 23, 2010
    Mountains of NC
    Quote:You might do a search for pinless peepers. These have worked great for me.
  5. erinszoo

    erinszoo Songster

    Jun 28, 2011
    North Central Oklahoma
    We have a couple that eat feathers too but we've never seen them pulling the feathers or noticed anyone of the chickens or turkey with a problem being pecked. [​IMG] Not sure why they do it. All of ours get the same protein count feed so I would think if the protein ration is off all of them would have the same problem, but it's mainly one and occassionally another as well and not all ten of them.

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