Chickens !!!!

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DocDoesFarming
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Post by DocDoesFarming »

I've noticed I have a fair few balding chickens, 2 of the smallest roosters are near enough bald on their arse region, and another roster that looks like it's losing feathers on the tops on the wings. There are also some hens missing feathers on their neck, and not just a small amount.

Are they fighting each other or is this something else?
Having a look online, the chickens are either bored and pecking for fun, eating the feathers for more protein and fibre or there is just a bully in the flock.

Anyone have any experience with this type of thing?
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Post by VanillaEssence »

Sounds like just fighting to me. I think it should be fine unless it gets really bad. We once separated a hen because she was being too badly picked on. Recovered well but then my dog ate her. Swings and roundabouts

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Zasso Nouka
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Post by Zasso Nouka »

If it's male and female chickens losing feathers the first thing I'd look at is the amount of protein in your chickens diet, it should be around 17%. Chickens with less than this amount of protein can start eating feathers to supplement any loss in their diet, we suffered this when I tried experimenting with feeding them just vegetables and as soon as we upped the protein ratio it stopped.

Another cause could be bullying but usually male chickens of the same age as the females can hold their own and it's often the smaller females that get bullied. Not all the time, occasionally a particularly feisty smaller female can dominate a flock but it's unusual. Chickens are absolutely ruthless with each other and if a flock identifies a weakling it's future can be tough.

Parasites are not normally a cause of feather loss but it can be something to look into. Do your chickens have an area they can dust bath in ? If so you can add some diatomaceous earth to it and that will take care of things like fleas and mites.

You can order various anti pecking lotions and sprays from abroad, I keep a couple on hand just in case. They are gloopy and taste awful, you stick it on the affected area and next time a biter strikes it gets a mouthful of disgusting gloop. The bottles last a long time so if you do order get a whole batch to make the postage worthwhile, mine's still good 5 years after buying.

Finally, and this probably doesn't apply in your case but if you ever find only female chickens getting bald backs that's caused by an overly frisky rooster giving the ladies a little bit too much attention :oops:

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DocDoesFarming
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Post by DocDoesFarming »

I suspect it might be lack of protein as we are using a rice/rice powder feed with spuds plus whatever veggies we are given or grown, I also have this tarp laid on the floor which i use to collect worms, it's not much but it helps I guess. The bastards only eat the cucumbers if I chop the whole bucket into tiny pieces.

It's the really small males that seem to be near enough bald so I suspect there might be a bit bullying going on also. Can you not get that anti pecking stuff here then? Might need to coat my fingers in that stuff to stop me from biting them I think.

I cleared more space at the back for them to do dust bathing, it was only the edges really so I thought I should make it wider.
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Post by Zasso Nouka »

You might be able to get the anti peck stuff here now but I couldn't find it around 5 or 6 years ago when I looked, you might also be able to find an online recipe to make it.

Chickens in the wild are not vegetarian and will eat all manner of small creatures for protein. Domesticated chickens need a lot of protein and calcium in their diet to keep producing eggs every day, once pecking becomes a habit it can be tricky to eliminate. You can remove the victim but the bully sometimes moves onto another bird, identifying the bully can be difficult but if you can then isolating them can sometimes work or it can be several bullies then it gets difficult

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Post by DocDoesFarming »

Calcium we have sorted, just need to find a good way to up the protein.
Also had to buy a large fan today as it was getting hot inside their coop.
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Post by Zasso Nouka »

Soy powder or milk powder will up your protein content but if you have a meat or fish processing workshop nearby their waste can do it for free. Personally I'd prefer fish offal as it shouldn't contain any hormones or antibiotics , a friend of our's makes himono and our chickens love all the innards. It's a bit grotesque feeding them but the chickens love it.

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Post by DocDoesFarming »

Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.

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Post by Zasso Nouka »

Interesting video man :thumbup:

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Post by Zakiyama »

Hi everybody! I haven't been on here in too long :doh: :doh:

My kid started preschool so we have time for chickens! :dance:

I'm having the darndest time trying to find DE (diatomaceous earth). All that comes back is wall plaster, or crazy fancy supplements that cost too many mans.

Does anyone know a source of just DE that's food grade? Or suggestions for alternatives?