WHY is she pulling their feathers out & eating them?!?!?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by painthorse76, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. painthorse76

    painthorse76 New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Sep 22, 2009
    Hey all! I've been perusing your site & forum since I got my 4 chicks in April......WOW what a help it has been!
    As a newcomer to the whole "Chicken Thing" I found just about any info I needed on this site & more!

    Now to my "issue"......it's a long post, but figurd I'd try to get all the info in possible so as to avoid missing info!!

    I had built the coop & run previously for 2 Roosters that someone had "dumped" in our neighborhood that I felt needed a safe place to call home in the winter & at night....well they eventually moved on (or died i presume) as I wasn't going to keep them locked up except at night since they loved to be free!!

    So now I had a coop & a run & the feed stores were all selling cute fuzzy spring chicks.....(I HATE that idea btw.....too many moron's buying cute little fuzzy babies that haven't got a clue!) and I decided that it was time to produce our own fresh eggs.
    I resisted the temptation to buy any random chicks & ordered 2 sexed RIR's & 2 Sussex Speckled from my feed store that gets them from McMurray's. I doubled the size of the run & put outdoor roosts in & waited patiently........

    Perfect- all of my research on how to & what to worked out like a charm.....from brooder to feed to lighting etc..... I put them on lights to extend their daylight when the days started getting shorter & got my first egg from one of my RIR's on Labor Day...right on schedule!!!! (I was so proud, I picked up little "Rosie" & hugged her!!!)

    So she has been the only one laying, an egg a day, BUT NOW....she started a week & a half ago PLUCKING the soft feathers out of the other 3 girls hind ends!!! AND EATING THEM!!!
    NASTY!!!!! I can't eat eggs from a chicken that eats CHICKEN FEATHERS!!! The other 3 girls wont even come down from their roost poles to eat, scratch or poop!! They're scared "eggless"!!

    I did more research... & found out about the protein deficiency issue & decided to pull the scratch from their diet & feed strictly Layer pellets, Black Oil Sunflower Seeds & Plain Yogurt.....

    Then after watching her pluck & eat their feathers & heard my poor other girls scream another day, I pulled her from the flock & put her in a big wire dog crate in my feed room in the barn....she has all her essentials & is on the same timed light as the others & only held out on giving an egg for the first day, so she's happy...... I did this all last tuesday 09-15-09. I tried to put her back in the run with the others on Saturday for a little while & she lasted @ 3 minutes until one of the others walked past & she reached out & grabbed a feather!!!! WTH???? I grabbed her, yanked the feather from her mouth & put her back in the cage!!! Grrrrrrrr.....

    My other 3 are living peacefully together & after having "Miss Nasty Rosie" out for only 5 days, the 2 speckled (Harriet & Wanda) gave me their 1st eggs yesterday & I'm sure I'll have the other RIR's (Peggy) first today!!! I'm so proud! My family thinks I've lost it!

    What do I do?????
    Will Rosie ever get over he feather plucking & eating?? How long should I keep her separate?? I won't "cull" her, as I think the idea is....well, just yuk!
    I don't want the others to get stressed again & drop egg production, nor do I want their @$$es to get feather pulled out all day every day...
    If I need to keep Rosie out for 2 or 3 weeks, so be it, but if I'm wasting my time, I'll just give her to one of the neighbors or some friends that have lots of chickens & she'll have to fend for herself..... but I feel like I'm abandoning one of my "kids" if I ship her away!!

    Sorry for the rant, but I'm desperately seeking advice or help, as I've exhausted all my resources at this point!!

    Any help or ideas would be appreciated!!!!

    THANKS!!!!

    Michelle
     
  2. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    6,026
    15
    263
    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
  3. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    5,410
    19
    251
    Jun 17, 2009
    Oklahoma
    My Coop
    She is probably lacking protein. Try giving her foods high in protein. Scrambled eggs would be good for her. Gamebird feed has more protein.

    Cammy
     
  4. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    6,026
    15
    263
    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    Back to the protein thing - I just thought: you can also try giving some high protien wet catfood or dogfood, if the eggs don't cure it.
     
  5. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    5,410
    19
    251
    Jun 17, 2009
    Oklahoma
    My Coop
    I give mine catfood.
     
  6. lovemychicns

    lovemychicns Chillin' With My Peeps

    309
    1
    131
    Sep 22, 2008
    Rockwell, NC
    Bump her layer feed up to 20%.
     
  7. Chickens in Elmwood

    Chickens in Elmwood Chillin' With My Peeps

    133
    0
    109
    Jul 6, 2009
    Elmwood, WV
    umm..just wanted to say that I don't think giving her to someone else who has chickens is a good idea, unless, of course, you don't like the person who would be recieving her...

    Could be lack of protein. You've gotten very good suggestions about what to feed to treat that. COULD be that's her thing now. She tried it a few times, she got a reaction and a treat (albeit a yucky one), so now it's her THING to do.

    I'd try to increase protein for a few weeks, then reintroduce. If she still feather picks, I'd probably cull her. I know it's hard and not what you want to do, but it really isn't fair to the other girls to have to put up with her brutality. Or just keep her by herself all the time. I recently had to cull my cockerel for attacking my kids. I sure didn't want to do it, but he couldn't stay here, and it wasn't right to give someone else a mean, unruley rooster. [​IMG]
     
  8. painthorse76

    painthorse76 New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Sep 22, 2009
    Quote:Thanks for the input! I've heard that, but I'm trying to keep them "vegetarian fed"..... silly, but my family had always eaten "Eggland's Best" vegi fed hen eggs & it's been hard enough to convinve them that my own eggs will be better for them!! [​IMG]

    They (the family) are just finally eating them now (in omelets) after having our own eggs for 2 weeks now.....until that it was only in baked goods![​IMG]
     
  9. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    6,026
    15
    263
    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    If they ate insects, would that bother the family? Meal worms are a good source of protien as well as crickets.
     
  10. painthorse76

    painthorse76 New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Sep 22, 2009
    Quote:LOL!!! [​IMG]...... I could think of several people that I could give her to as a "present"!!!! Nah..... there are 3 farms that she could go to to see if she'll chill..... they have big established flocks & I think they'd put her right in her place..... I'd rather just see if I can straighten her out & put her back with her sisters! All I'd need to hear is that she got beat to death by another bird & I'd feel horrible!

    I'll go get some higher protein to try to mix in today! I WILL win this battle.....
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by