to rehome or not to rehome?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TurtleChick, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. TurtleChick

    TurtleChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    a question for those of you who are, like me, "pet" byc owners... what would you do if you were in my shoes?

    we have 4 chickens (ee'r, rir, 2 "red stars"), all raised together and now 1yr old. last summer, one of the girls got an injury near her vent (what happened, i have no idea - which came first, the pecking or the injury???) - but doesn't matter - the result was a LARGE vet bill (although i count myself lucky to know an avian vet who sees chickens...) and a LONG battle to stop the constant feather picking that began because of it. the main picker is my ee'r - who is overall a flightier more skittish hen than the other girls. she's fine with me (although she hates to be picked up and runs from me) but runs from my husband and kids and is the most standoffish of the bunch (understand, though - standoffish with my girls means she STANDS the farthest away at treat time, which puts her at 10" from my hands instead of 1" from my hands......).

    i read up on alllllllll of the potential causes of picking - and we've remedied as many as we could think of as triggers: enlarged their outdoor run to 8x10, added sunflower and yogurt, started making SURE that they are getting at least 2hours a day free ranging time in the yard, handful of scratch in their house at night so that they have something to do in the morning if i don't make it out to let them out as SOON as they wake up, leaves in the run to scratch around in, etc. i've also had to resort to a no-pick lotion to get the picking to stop. (there is now a second victim to the picking.) both girls with naked skin showing are starting to grow feathers back, but i've found that if i'm not out there putting the lotion on every day or every other day, the examining-the-new-little-feathers-and-plucking-them starts again. i've seen one other chicken take aswipe once or twice, but nothing like the frequency of our ee'r. grrrr. i really really don't want to get rid of her - but i just don't know if getting her to stop this is any kind of a realistic hope or not. IF i rehome her, she'll be going over to a friend's house (who is well aware of the problems i've been having with her) to see if just being the new kid in a new flock (who get to have free range in her backyard all day, every day) breaks the naughty habit. i should add, my friend's girls are very tolerant of new guys - she had to rehome her rooster and brought home a new rescue hen, pet sat a new chicken, etc. with no issues from her ladies.

    so, again.... if you were me, and LOVED your lil stupid feather-picking chicken, would you keep trying or send her on to a new home?

    thanks!
     
  2. Crazy_For_Chickens

    Crazy_For_Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well it really depends on how long that you have been putting that lotion stuff on her if it has been at least a month then I would probibly rehome her because some chickens will never give up. I would give her to your friend unless she was a favorite.


    SORRY if this is not what you want to hear. [​IMG]
     
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If I've tried everything, I would rehome for the best of the flock as a whole. Else, raise the picker in their own domain away from the others. Have you tried giving more protein, such as a game bird feed, and giving black oil sunflowerseeds just in case it was something nutritional and that bird just needs more of it to adsorb enough?
     
  4. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    I would put he up in lockup for awhile. If that doesn't work, rehome her.
     
  5. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

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    What a bummer this has continued for so long! What a pain the patooty hen.

    Note to self: do not be tempted by the next free EE on craigslist in Tacoma...
     
  6. TurtleChick

    TurtleChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    silkie: argh - dumb ole peeps. i did add black oil sunflower and they get yogurt every morning, i've cut WAY back on any snacks that are low protein, and they were out of purina flock raiser last time i was food shopping, so i stuck with the purina layena (the only game bird food they have at closest feed store is 27% protein and that seemed too high to me...). interestingly, the ee'r is the least interested in the high protein snacks - she'll eat some, but not voraciously like the other girls. 'course, she's not egg laying any more this year, and they still are. AND two of them are trying to grow feathers back. so i really would like to get them onto the game bird if i could find some lower protein, or switch to flock raiser (they have oyster shell out there already).

    cmom: i have thought about the lockup option, and i'll have to be creative and see if i can come up with something - our coop isn't set up for easy partitioning... the run would be, though.

    jenn: i think we just got unlucky enough to end up with a girl who is really easily bored - i really think that's what got her picking (she's not aggressive, just easily distracted by tail feathers...) in the first place, now it's just a naughty bad habit. if she'd been raised somewhere free ranging all the time from the start, it probably never would have been a problem for her. i would still have ee'rs again someday - i think she's easily the most beautiful of my chickens, but not til i could let 'em loose all day. (right now, dogs and chickens have to split "out of jail" time - my rule is our dogs have to be crated inside the house when the chickens are out loose in the back yard... that way, accidental door openings by short people have no consequences except maybe a chicken in the house!)

    i am leaning towards giving her a try at my friend's house. worst case scenario, she picks at my friend's girls too and has to come back to me. maybe being gone for a few weeks would be enough to bump her out of the bad habit.

    [​IMG] thanks for the understanding and support, all!!!
     
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    If you have a dog crate that could be your chicken jail.
     
  8. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Have you considered that the injuries are caused by a rodent? They often attack vents. I'm not saying this to imply you don't know the source of the problem, only that you consider the possibility.

    I agree that a dog crate segregation might be a logical first step if you're sure of the cause. If the problem hen is getting near laying age, the aggression may pass. One of my golden comets was making a bid to overtake our alpha girl at that time, but has since settled.
     

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