Young pullet pulling out and eating her own feathers

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PhDmom493, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. PhDmom493

    PhDmom493 New Egg

    6
    0
    9
    Aug 29, 2016
    She is a three month old black Sex Link. I have noticed her pulling out her hatchmates' feathers before. But today, I noticed she is bare under her wings on her body. I checked for mites and lice and saw nothing. I separated her from the rest of the flock to try to encourage her to eat more protein. She doesn't seem very interested in animal protein. Since I have a mixed flock of ages varying between 3-9 months, I feed a combination of layer crumble, grower crumble, BOSS, a tiny bit of scratch, and daily kitchen scraps including meat. They free range and forage every day as well. They are not overcrowded in their coop either as it is enormous.

    Any suggestions? She does seem large for her age and skittish. Is she just stressed?
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    17,207
    5,120
    476
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Birds her age will be going through baby molts still. I have seen chickens eat feathers, it can be normal. If they are pecking them off each other than I would suspect a protein deficiency. You should not be feeding them layer. Feed everyone a non medicated grower with a separate bowl of oyster shells. Limit their extras and treats.

    Layer is formulated to be fed as the sole ration. If you add extras you will end up with deficiencies. I personally don't feed layer anymore, I use the non medicated grower or an All Flock ration.

    Sex links in my experiences need more protein due to them maturing quicker and laying more. I have had nothing but troubles feeding them layer or not giving them enough daily protein.
     
  3. PhDmom493

    PhDmom493 New Egg

    6
    0
    9
    Aug 29, 2016
    Thank you so much! So, even the older laying hens can eat grower? I can skip buying layer altogether indefinitely?
     
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    12,748
    5,692
    436
    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I'm not @oldhenlikesdogs but she and I think a lot alike on most things and I just happened to be wandering by.....

    I also feed All Flock or even Grower/starter to all my birds. I have a mix of birds of different ages and a roo or two tossed in there for good measure, and it beats the stuffin' out of trying to buy separate foods and keep them out of each others' food dishes! One food, one feeder (except when integrating chicks...then more than one feeder is advisable) and the added benefit of higher protein content in their main diet.

    For snacks during hard winter times I also hang a few suet feeders with wild bird suet in the run. Keeps them occupied with something besides themselves and each other, gives them a little extra fat, and the additional protein can't hurt either. They also get hardboiled eggs, just crushed up in a bag and fed shells and all. Put the eggs in a plastic grocery bag, tie the top shut, put that bag inside another one and tie it shut, put it on the counter and beat the daylights out of it until they are nicely crushed up. There's not enough calcium in the shells to hurt anyone, the eggs are full of protein, and the shells have just a tad of calcium for a slight boost when they're laying. Of course, I don't depend on eggs shells alone for calcium - they also have oyster shell fed free choice in a separate container - but once you crush up the hard boiled eggs it's easier just to toss the whole bagful in there. It's how I use up extra eggs that have around too long in the back of the fridge, and no, it won't make them start eating eggs out of the nests since what they get isn't even recognizable to them as eggs.
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    17,207
    5,120
    476
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Blooie covered it all pretty much, she's pretty smart. I scramble up my extra eggs, and feed the crushed shells back too. I just dump my shells in a pile somewhere and they find and eat them.

    I personally have had too many troubles from egg eating and feather picking in the past to feed layer anymore. It doesn't fit the way I feed and manage my birds.

    I have the most friendliest chickens since they started getting scrambled eggs for treats. Non chicken people always ask if they are cannibals because they eat eggs? I always answer, of course they are.[​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by