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      CommentAuthorChicken Wing
    • CommentTimeDec 21st, 2008 2:04pm (Dec 21st 2008)
    My lead chicken (Bluebell) seems to be pecking out the other chickens feathers and proceeding to eat them. She seems to have stripped the area around the vent on one of the chickens completely bald. I haven't come across this before and haven't got a clue what to do! So if anyone can help or advise I would appreciate it.
    • CommentAuthorollie in UK
    • CommentTimeDec 21st, 2008 6:04pm (Dec 21st 2008)
    Wow! "Cannibal Chicken"

    I'd slam her in solitary so quick.
    • CommentTimeDec 21st, 2008 11:31pm (Dec 21st 2008)

    Keeper of the hens

    Hey CW, this can be quite a common problem in chicken-keeping, so don't worry about it you're not alone! There are lots of potential explanations as to why Bluebell is pecking at the feathers, here are a list of reasons...

    1) Could be due to them not getting enough protein in their diet - try buying chicken feed that has a higher protein %, or feeding more treats that are high in protein such as soya milk, yoghurt, vegetables & grains

    2) It could possibly result from boredom (much more common in caged hens with little room, though) Try hanging a cabbage, lettuce or other vegetable head from somewhere. Add footballs, perches, mirrors etc

    3) If they are confined to a (very) small area it could result from lack of space

    4) You can buy that 'pet friendly' stuff that is sold for parrots to prevent them chewing on furniture (it tastes horrible so birds learn not to peck at stuff) and cover their behinds in it!!

    5) Remove Bluebell from the flock for a week or so - this will only work if she is the only hen doing the pecking!

    6) I have also heard that dying the chickens' feather blue prevents pecking, as chickens are not attracted to dark blue. You can use food colouring, but not sure if this method actually works or not...

    The behaviour you describe seems to go beyond normal 'top chicken' behaviour, especially as she is eating the feathers. I'd suggest modifying their diet first and see if the problem improves, and get ready to separate Bluebell to see if that helps, too :001_smile:

    Good luck! :heart:

      CommentAuthorChicken Wing
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd, 2008 9:28am (Dec 22nd 2008)
    Many thanks Red. I think I will try the modified diet first and see if it helps before removing Bluebell from the flock. Will let you know how it goes.
    Out to buy some cabbages, soyamilk and yoghurt..They get better treatment than us! ("Spoiled hens I think")But we love them.
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd, 2008 12:23pm (Dec 22nd 2008)

    Keeper of the hens

    Yeah, they're worth it aren't they :)

    Do you have any pet cats, CW? Only asking because a quick way to increase the girls' protein level is to chuck them a handful of dry cat food with their morning feed, so you could try that as well as the other 'treats'

    Hope it works and the pecking stops soon :001_smile:
      CommentAuthorChicken Wing
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd, 2008 4:07pm (Dec 22nd 2008)
    I have already suspended a nice fresh cauliflower in the run for the girls and they seem to love it. New toy for christmas perhaps they think.
    I gave them a bowl of veggie mince this morning with a little water on it and warmed it in the microwave... they thought it was great so I think I might try adding some to their feed each morning.
    And the cat biscuits sound a good idea but I don't think my two cats Lucky and Star will think much of it!
    Many thanks for your help Red it was much appreciated it's good to know you lot are out there.
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd, 2008 4:27pm (Dec 22nd 2008)
    I like the names Lucky and Star, nice names. :bigsmile:
      CommentAuthorChicken Wing
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd, 2008 5:48pm (Dec 22nd 2008)
    Thanks Ace, I used to have six cats Lucky and Star are sisters, their mum was called Twinkle and their dad Sam. They had a brother called Dino and a non relative called Jasmin. Sadly though they have all passed away over the years and Lucky and Star are the remaining two, they are around 15 years old and their mum was about 18yrs old when she fell asleep for the last time.
    Lucky and Star are now spoilt rotten though.
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd, 2008 5:52pm (Dec 22nd 2008)
    My cat is spoilt all she does is sleep and eat! hehe
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd, 2008 2:01pm (Dec 23rd 2008)

    Keeper of the hens

    Sounds like your chucks are spoilt rotten now, too ;)

    I'm glad they like the cauliflower, hanging veggies from the roof is one of the most effective boredom busters there is for chickens, especially because you can alternate between veggies so it's always something new!

    Let us know how it goes with the pecking!