RIR Tail Feather Loss

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by crealbilly, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. crealbilly

    crealbilly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not sure if this is the right place to post this thread (there are a lot of categories here :) )

    I have 17 RIR hens and 1 RIR roo I noticed over the winter a couple of the hens were getting bald around the tip of the tail. Now two hens have even lost their tail feathers and it seem like it's spreading to some of the other hens but not all of them. Some hens look just fine and so does the roo.

    Is this an establishment of peaking order? Or do i have another problem. The hens are just a little over 1 year old. I've also noticed a decrease in egg production over the past two weeks. Some days I won't have but 8 eggs and other days 14 or 15.

    Sorry for all the crappy pics but it's rare I mess with these chickens. So when I'm in the coop they get a little panicked.

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    Thanks you guys/gals are fantastic...
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016
  2. sawilliams

    sawilliams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Looks like a pecking issue, could be a space thing. Either the coop/run are to small or there are not enough roosts. The could also be bored. As for eggs, it would help to know how many hens. But overall I don't count an occasional half lay as a drop. I only have 6 hens 3 lay heavy (6-7 a week) and 3 lay medium (4-5 a week) most of the time if I have a half day the next is a max day is just depends on day off rotations.
     
  3. crealbilly

    crealbilly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks - I need to butcher 5 anyways - would you recommend the ones that are already started to be plucked? I guess I would think those hens are near the bottom of the pecking order anyways.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016
  4. sawilliams

    sawilliams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd pick males, and meat. Don't worry too much about the pecking order there will always be a top and a bottom. Do make sure they aren't red (like bloody or sore) where they are getting pecked at as that might incourage more pecking. If you don't have any certain ones picked for dinner then it wouldn't hurt to take out the ones they are pecking
     
  5. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    The chickens that still have all their feathers are the ones doing the pecking. They are making the bald hens miserable. If you remove the bald hens from your flock, the other hens will just start picking on different hens. I think your solution would be get rid of the hens doing the feather picking.

    You could try googling pinless peepers. They have worked for my hens.

    How big is your coop and run?
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. crealbilly

    crealbilly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Those pinnless peepers look a bit crazy - never seen anything like that before. I think I'll just eat a couple of the hens for supper and hopefully that'll solve the problem. I'm not out in the coop enough to see what's going on. I water, and clean and collect eggs everyday - so I'm only out there with them maybe 5 mins a day max.

    I have a 6 foot x 8 foot coop with 22 foot of roost space (1x4) about 6 foot off the coop floor and about 1200 square foot of fenced in chicken yard for these 18 chickens.

    If I hear you guys right I got a "mean" chicken. I think I know which one it is she tries to peck me at times - maybe I'll have me some mean chicken soup then :)
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Coop kinda small....so crowding may be part of the problem, regardless of run size.
    What and how exactly are you feeding?
     
  8. shober

    shober Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The same thing happened to me! It's a space issue! There are too many chickens for the amount of space that you have. My hens pecked one so bad she had a bloody hole in her back!! Since I couldn't change the size of my coop, I downsized the size of my flock and it cured the pecking right away!
     
  9. SJ

    SJ Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    That's what I would do before you get a full on cannibalism out break. A personal experience with the production reds.
    The pecking ends when the mean bird dies. Next time you water the birds watch to see who drinks first. See who stands off to the side and waits. Are the ones that wait missing the most feathers? suspect #1 the prettiest one. Literally your birds are trying to eliminate competetion. In nature they would run off the other hen but confined hens have no where to run. It is a slow death so get rid of your bully/bullies and keep the sweeties.

    The reds I had did this to my buffs and if i had known then what I know now I would have culled every red from my flock the day I saw the first buff bare back. Because two days later bare backs became bloody pecked to the bone backs.[​IMG] When the reds were culled all pecking stopped. Also free birds don't peck.
     
  10. crealbilly

    crealbilly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's a drop box feeder that holds 2 50lb bags of feed - I put a 50lb bag in every two weeks or so. They have feed continuously. I also have a PVC pipe nipple water that holds about 4 gallons, I put about 1 1/2 gallons in a day. Both the feeder and the waterer are fillable from outside the coop. I only go in the coop once a day to scrape poo poo off the roosts. I am using deep litter on the floor have about 8" in there now - once a week I thow a nice covering of barn lime and DE ontop of the deep litter. I need to change out the litter in a few weeks and put it in the garden, it's good and composted - want to help? - :lol
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016

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