Sharing some info: feather picking and peepers

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by boogiedog, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. boogiedog

    boogiedog Songster

    Apr 19, 2010
    Oakland hills, CA
    Some time back I had searched the forum and asked the question regarding pinless peepers and featherpicking - and thank you BYCers- I got some good info. I just wanted to share my experiences so far in hopes that perhaps it helps someone else out there.

    I have a flock of 29 girls, ranging in age from 3-6 months. I have a coop and run - no free-ranging. About a month back, just as egg-laying was starting, some tail-feather plucking started as well. A few poor ladies had pretty bald butts. (fortunately no blood)

    (I will add here that I feed 22% protein feed (food and water available 24/7 in run and coop), have "flock blocks", roosts in my run, and put different "enrichment" out there daily - hanging a cabbage, a big scoop of BOSS, some scratch, a big dust bath bin, etc. Protein and enrichment didn't seem to be the problem - I think that age and space were. I have also since expanded the run by 50 sq feet)

    I did some research and decided to try pinless peepers. (The cheapest place by FAR I found to buy them is Very affordable and very affordable shipping. And you can pick from about a dozen cool colors [​IMG]).

    I identified my prime "pickers" and put peepers on them (about 3 culprits to start). (I found that heating up a glass of water in the micro and soaking the peepers in the water softened them up enough to allow very easy "installation". My DH held the culprit firmly against him, and steadied her head, allowing me to use two hands to spread the peeper and clip down on her nostrils. Very quick and easy on. I did not need plyers.)

    Of course at first (and especially the first group of birds to get them on) really make a fuss. And everyone stands around and stares at them (very funny to watch). Within a very short period of time (hour-ish) the drama is over and life goes on. They are able to eat, drink, and have all the chicken fun everyone else does sans the feather picking. (Interestingly, the next set of birds I did there was NO fuss and no staring.)

    After group one we watched carefully to see if any others would take up the slack and start picking. And 4 did. So on went the peepers.

    I have noticed since the 8 "culprits" have been "peeped", there has been less drama and "scooting" away from the anticipated pickers. I am keeping my eye on the pecking order, and will be vigilant to "peep" any new offenders. It seems to have calmed down a bit.

    I plan to take off the peepers in a few months after the birds have fully matured, and see if the time wearing peepers erradicated the behavior. That will interesting - I of course am hoping for a "peeper-free" flock.

    I admit- I was reticent to put these on, but honestly, the ladies don't seem to mind at all. They still hop in my lap and do everything everyone else does. Seems to be a very humane solution to a potential deadly problem.

    Everyone here has been so generous with info, thank you. I suspect there may be some other folks out there experiencing this problem and wanted to share that this solution certainly has been working great for me. I'll come back with Chapter 2 The Peepers are Off in a few months [​IMG]

    Cheers -
  2. Marko

    Marko In the Brooder

    Feb 15, 2009
    I am about to be ordering the peepers also as i have bad feather picking problems...Like a good 10hens picked backs and they irritate my Tom turkey also on his butt! hoping this will fix the problem i will be putting peepers on all to start and then remove when the feathers are all back and see if it starts again or what i have to do...would be good for multiple Roosters i figured to to reduce fighting?
  3. tidsco

    tidsco Hatching

    Aug 29, 2010
    I have had some issues in the past with feather picking. I bought 25 silverlaced wyndayts from a guy one time and everyone of the rear ends was bald from them picking at each other. I done some research on the subject and what i found out it was from lack of minerals so i bought some that you added to ur water. Also i clipped their top beek off about a 1/4 of a inch. They cant pluck feathers then. I guess it was from lack of some minerals because when their beek grew back they didnt pick anymore feathers and the flock was very pretty then.

    I hope this helps.
  4. Do you have any pics of the peepers in action. I'm new here and I'm not really sure what you are referring to.
  5. amyrains

    amyrains In the Brooder

    May 23, 2010
    Im lost too I thought a peeper was a baby chick! [​IMG]
  6. boogiedog

    boogiedog Songster

    Apr 19, 2010
    Oakland hills, CA
    I'll try to get a picture and post of the hens with peepers on...I'm pretty challenged technologically so bear with me! They look like the plastic sunglasses (sans clear area) that sit directly on the beak. There are small plastic "pins" on the inside of the "nose" piece that keep them on - one goes through each nostril. I was pretty panicked at the concept but in fact it doesn't not impair their ability to eat or drink - or breathe. They act the same as then hens without them. They can be taken off and on without plyers. If you check the website they have pictures of the peepers themselves - not sure if they have a pic of birds in them.
  7. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Glad to hear they are working out for you. Fortunately, of all the problems I've had with chickens, I've never had any feather pickers. I am interested in any new information that someone can provide, though. I am glad to hear the peepers were successful in dealing with your problem.

    Good luck.
  8. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    Just wanted to add that if they are persistent little snots, they CAN learn to pick feathers with these things on. Been there done that. Finally got rid of the feather pickers all together.
  9. critterlover

    critterlover In the Brooder

    Apr 15, 2009
    I just want to say that after doing a ton of research I decided to try peepers in early summer. They did NOT do one thing to stop the hens from plucking feathers. As a matter of fact I think my girls have less feathers now than before. Now that winter is coming I'm worried because I have bald butt hens! [​IMG]

    If they want to pick each others feathers, they will find a way peepers or not.
  10. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Songster

    Dec 14, 2009
    We've used pinless peepers for awhile now in our original flock, and it has helped significantly. There still is some feather picking, but it is not as bad as it was, and the birds that are lower in the pecking order come down off of the roost to eat and drink and have treats now. They did that minimally prior to the peepers. Interestingly enough, the new flock that has just come into lay has not had any problem with feather picking, at all. Thanks for the tip on national brands. I am going to look into ordering some more. The only side note that I will add, is that there seem to be some chickens that you can't keep these things on. We can't seem to get them to stay on our EE's. All they have to do is shake their heads briefly, and the peepers fly off.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: