Why don't my chickens preen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lgyure85, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. lgyure85

    lgyure85 Chillin' With My Peeps

    66
    2
    81
    May 7, 2013
    Chattanooga, TN
    I have two silkie bantams, a girl that fell off a truck, and another rescue girl. Everyone is less than 6 months old, and this last molt has been ridiculous! I ended up preening everyone! The silkies started looking like Pinhead from Hellraiser! What the heck?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    63,939
    9,777
    766
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Kinda hard to preen the back of your head.
     
  3. lgyure85

    lgyure85 Chillin' With My Peeps

    66
    2
    81
    May 7, 2013
    Chattanooga, TN
    Oh, I know that, it was just the most obvious spot. I even fixed the tail and wing feathers! No excuses there! Some chickens get their head feathers fixed, how do they do? Chickens don't groom socially, so I know other chickens won't do it for them
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    16,727
    4,426
    456
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I have seen some mutual grooming amongst chickens, especially hens grooming the roosters face.

    Some chickens can reach a foot up to their head for a quick scratch.

    Most crested birds need help with their head feathers. The sheath that covers new feathers does eventually break down and falls off on it's own, but it can take some time, so help in removing them is always appreciated.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. biophiliac

    biophiliac Chillin' with the Peeps Premium Member

    1,631
    2,620
    251
    Apr 22, 2016
    DeForest, WI
    ┬┐Could someone say a little more about HOW to help a chicken Preen? :-D
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    16,727
    4,426
    456
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    For crest feathers I pinch the sheath of new feathers slightly between my fingers and try to crunch and roll them slightly to try to crack them off. Otherwise just gently pulling stuff out can work too. A gentle scratch on the head can work too.

    For my polish I trim their crests short which helps to remove the sheath more quickly. No matter how many time I trim them the feathers grow out a bit each time.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. biophiliac

    biophiliac Chillin' with the Peeps Premium Member

    1,631
    2,620
    251
    Apr 22, 2016
    DeForest, WI
    Thanks! I just hadnt yet heard about grooming chickens - good to know!
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. biophiliac

    biophiliac Chillin' with the Peeps Premium Member

    1,631
    2,620
    251
    Apr 22, 2016
    DeForest, WI
    Thought I was just supposed to look for external parasites. Feathers are kind of unfamiliar to me so I did not want to break any or mess them up by clumsiness, LOL. My first 5 birds seem to groom themselves and have nice shiny feathers, I've seen them picking off the new feather sheaths. Wonder if any of mine would appreciate help with the hard to reach spots!
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    16,727
    4,426
    456
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    chickens can usually reach most spots. The crests on birds is the only thing I occasionally help out with after a molt as being able to see the scalp due to feathers still encased in their feather sheath seems to sometimes draw bad attention and pecking.

    All chickens have an oil preened gland on the base of their tails where they get oil to spread on their feathers to keep them healthy and weatherproof. Most birds need no help preening, occasionally some need help on their heads.
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by