Still trying to stop feather picking / eating

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by HudokFarm, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. HudokFarm

    HudokFarm Songster

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    May 6, 2011
    Minnesota
    My pullets (hatched in early March, from McMurray's) like feathers. They pick them off each other and eat them. A few of my EEs have no tails left. The EEs are the most picked on. A few of them will stand up for themselves if another tries to eat their feathers, but most of the EEs just take it. A few of them have had feathers picked to the point that they bled (thru the feather shaft). So far ::knocks on wood:: the pickers are not going after the blood.

    Here is what I have done so far to try to stop this:
    • Diet changes - I upped their protein a little. I recently switched them to Layena with a little protein supplemented.
    • Toys - Did not help
    • Blue Kote on the the bare areas of some of the chickens. As soon as it wears off, they get picked on again. I also bought some tacky stuff I am going to try to put on areas that get picked. I guess it tastes bad and the tackiness is annoying on their beaks.
    • Dusted chickens and coop for mites.

    I think some of it is just habitual now. I have 4 Speckled Sussexes who are the worst offenders and who seem to keep the trend going. Maybe I just need to get rid of them of move them out of the run and free range them? Does anyone have other ideas or experiences to share?
     

  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Feather eating is usually caused by boredom and lack of protein, but I see you've covered that already, so I'm thinking your chickens just learned a bad habit. Have you tried pinless peepers yet? It's worked wonders for some people who had the same issue as you. Here's a thread with a pic and some of the more common questions about them answered:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/480929/pinless-peepers-work
     
  3. HudokFarm

    HudokFarm Songster

    166
    4
    116
    May 6, 2011
    Minnesota
    I haven't tried pinless peepers yet. I thought I read one post that they did not work for someone and that is why I never ordered any. I will get some ordered and see if they help. Thanks for reminding me of them!
     

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