What to do with a hen whos plucking & eating her own feathers?!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JP101010, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. JP101010

    JP101010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Millie , our young Frizzle who we acquired just a few days ago is bald on her wings and on her rump a bit. i was told she was picked on. i have observed her a few times going nuts grooming herself. i have checked her twice and the vet once for skin disease , parasites etc
    I now know that she is plucking her own feathers and eating them as if they were "crack" . i try to give her a nice treat like a pea or some green beans etc and i cant get that crackhead type response , but if you were to give her a feather then she would run off with it.
    I already know that she came from a bad place- overcrowding ,underfeeding , CRD , etc
    anyone ever heard of this.. is it similar to pet parrots plucking themselves out of boredom??
    could she be lacking something nutritionally? maybe a learned behavior from food shortage?
    any ideas on how to stop it?
    shes eating a buffet or diffrent foods- layena , start and grow and turkey feed- originally doing this before she got her appetite back just to have food in her crop with her two antibiotics

    also she has very long hard white tubes as wing feathers that she bites/aggressively grooms?? if you dont know what im talking about i could get a picture.do you think these are the bigger feathers growing back- if so should i let her keep doing the aggressive grooming?

  2. La Mike

    La Mike (Always Slightly Off)

    Nov 20, 2009
    A pic would help but sounds like she needs more protein and calcium in her diet.
    The feather shoots could be where she has pulled feathers and part of them were left
    Get higher protein feed and some oyster shell. That should help the issue of feather plucking.
  3. JP101010

    JP101010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the reply. she is eating mostly turkey feed which is high in protein , however just for two days now. Perhaps the combo of both that and the oyster shell would be better

    i will get a pic posted tomorow

    thanks again
  4. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    Calcium is not need for feathers it is all protien. If she was eating layena before only and that happened you will need to change to the turkey only. Just make sure it is non medicated feed. Mixing the two will lower the protien in the turkey to between the laynena and the turkey levels. Which is OK as long as it is close to around 18%. If your turkey is over 22% then that is what you would get mixing the two.
  5. JP101010

    JP101010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    so far , she has finished her meds and is no longer sick. she also has been on a turkey starter feed for a bit now and she seems to have stopped eating her feathers. i can tell because i see a few in her cage that she has not devoured for the past 2 days now.
    She is so healthy now and just this morning she laid her first egg. She is 10x more bright alert and feisty then when i first got her- Pre-Meds.

    Thanks so much for all the useful information. I would have thought behavioral over nutritional with the feather eating so i am so glad i posted the question!
    ritabook2 likes this.
  6. dgecko

    dgecko Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 22, 2011
    For pet birds as in hookbills and other type birds I have used Listerine. I use a spray bottle and put 1/4 bottle full of Listerine and fill the rest with water. Spray on the picked area. Listerine has a bitter taste to birds. Hope this helps
  7. JP101010

    JP101010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Thank- you for your advice . her issue wasnt with obsessive plucking it was with eating her own feathers and it came from a lack of protein. The place where i got her only fed the chickens once in a while and it was always leftover scraps from the cow and pig. after getting her started on high protein turkey feed she has stopped eating her feathers.

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