Feather pecking

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dianefairhall
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Feather pecking

Post by dianefairhall »

Our girls have been banged up for several weeks now which they seemed to take to with no problems. Yesterday OH saw Morag, our cuckoo Marans, who is the boldest of the trio, swipe a feather from Skye's bum and eat it. She's been at it again today and the other two run away from her, as far as they can. I don't know what to do. We didn't notice this behaviour when they were free ranging. We don't have another coop to put her in and it's flippin' cold at the moment..
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dinosaw
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by dinosaw »

If you can't seperate them properly, then you could try a feather pecking spray to deter via the foul taste. If that doesn't work the only option left is a bumpa bit for the offender. The other thing you could do is to separate them during the day by using a dog crate or similar for Morag. Make sure they are getting enough calcium too, as deficiency can sometimes be at the heart of feather pecking, though it does seem more likely to be boredom in the circumstances.
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dianefairhall
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by dianefairhall »

Thank you, Dinosaw. We had noticed that their eggshells were getting more fragile recently so it seems they get a healthier diet when free-ranging, too. Will oyster shell/grit be OK?
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dinosaw
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by dinosaw »

Yes, that ought to do it, you can also bake their eggshells, crush them up and sprinkle them around the run as well. Another thing which you may already be doing, is to hang a cabbage or other green vegetable in the run for them to peck at and keep them occupied, these have the side benefit of having decent calcium levels too.
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Marigold
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by Marigold »

How old are they now, Diane? You can expect the shells to get progressively thinner after the second season in full lay.
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dianefairhall
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by dianefairhall »

We got them 1st October 2019 when they were POL, allegedly 18 weeks. Izzie started to lay round about Christmas 2019 but the other two didn't start until the new year 2020. Their shells have always been very tough which I put down to free-ranging. I have had the grit and oyster shell since we got them but they've never seemed to need it.
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dianefairhall
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by dianefairhall »

dinosaw wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:22 pm
Yes, that ought to do it, you can also bake their eggshells, crush them up and sprinkle them around the run as well. Another thing which you may already be doing, is to hang a cabbage or other green vegetable in the run for them to peck at and keep them occupied, these have the side benefit of having decent calcium levels too.
Thanks, I'll see if I can get some spring greens or similar when I'm out tomorrow.
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Marigold
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by Marigold »

You might like to try Nettex Mineral Powder in a damp mash, it’s got probiotics and seaweed as well as minerals. https://www.omlet.co.uk/shop/chicken_ke ... rt_-_450g/
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dianefairhall
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by dianefairhall »

Marigold wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:34 am
You might like to try Nettex Mineral Powder in a damp mash, it’s got probiotics and seaweed as well as minerals. https://www.omlet.co.uk/shop/chicken_ke ... rt_-_450g/
I've got some VermX Poultry Zest which I bought to use during their moult which seems to be similar, I could use that. Sadly not much fresh veg on the island at the moment.
Icemaiden
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by Icemaiden »

Not much help if you can't get hold of one, but when I buy a cauliflower, I cut the leaves & a circle of the base off in one piece if I can. Then I make a hole through the base with a crochet hook, pull some string through it on the crochet hook & use that to hang it up in the run. It keeps the girls entertained for a day or two, especially if they have to jump a few inches to reach it.
Chickens are a girl's best friend (though diamonds would be nice too!)
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