Question about pine tar for anti-picking...


12 Years
Nov 12, 2007
My girls have been picking feathers, actually it's just 3 or 4 of them I see doing it. I started them on the Avia Charge 2000 and it has decreased some. I'm also trying to keep them very busy by heaping in weeds, sunflower stalks and free ranging when possible. Their coop & run is sufficient in space but has nothing left for them to graze on. I have several with bald spots on the back just in front of the tail. I've seen several posts suggesting the use of pine tar (which I have on hand for the horses) or Vick's to deter pecking. My question is whether it is safe to apply directly to the skin and will either of these products inhibit feather re-growth? There's only been a couple of occasions that the pecking was so bad there was blood and I immediately treated with Wonder Dust to dry up & coat the area. It seems the posts I've read that recommended these products was aimed at using it on their combs & wattles.
With the cold weather setting in I'd like to see those areas filled in with feathers!

I used pine tar when I had one chick getting picked on by her brothers and sisters. She was losing feathers just in front of the tail from the pecking. I applied it directly to the skin. Worked great and no problem with the feathers growing back in.
P.S. From what I've read here on BYC, it's my understanding that if the entire feather is gone it will grow back in. If it's only a damaged feather, it won't be replaced until the moult. At any rate, she has all her feathers now even if a couple of them are ugly.
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Blue Lotion, also used for horses is less messy. I'm sure both products are useful. Another thing you can do is to give the hens hay or straw bales to divide up the run or coop and block that direct confrontation which sometimes initiates an attack.
I used it on my chicks when they were in the brooder. A few got picked at...I put it directly on the skin. The others took one sniff and avoided the treated ones like the plague...It's great!

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