My chickens have pecked half of their feathers out : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

I have 6 hens (19 months old, 3 different breeds) and a rooster. They are caged but have plenty of space and clean water and food. The problem is that they won't stop pecking at each other. When they were 5 months old, they primarily picked on one hen, pecking her until she was bare and bleeding. We separated her until all of her feathers grew back, but as soon as we put her back with the others, they pecked her bare again. We got the rooster to keep them in line. This worked for a while, but eventually it started again. This time they pecked on all of the hens. (They seem to stop temporarily during the winter.) I've tried several peoples' sugestions: oyster shell (possible calcium deficiency), more protein, vinegar in their water, Rooster Booster (a tar substance on their skin). Nothing is working. At this point I have 6 half-naked hens. I'm afraid to add the 3 new ones we have for fear that they will pass on this bad habit. Does anyone have a suggestion? I'm desperate.

-- Shannon L Stebbins (, September 19, 2002


Boredom will sometimes cause them to peck at each other. If there's any way try to give them some time to be out on the ground to peck. They may need some sunshine for vitamin D production. It could also be they are missing something in their diet-not all chicken feeds are equal although they are listed as complete. Try a small bag of a different feed if getting them onto the ground doesn't work. Mites or lice would be my last guess, but if you've checked them over for parasites then getting them on the ground may be all that's needed. Even if you've got a small yard a chicken tractor would get them on the ground in a safe environment.

-- Kathy Aldridge (, September 22, 2002.

There's also a few posts regarding chickens pecking each other on the Chicken Q&A on Lusenet. You may want to also post your question there- the more answers the better. :)

-- Kathy Aldridge (, September 22, 2002.

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