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Columbian

Feather Pecking

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Hello all.  The drafted feather-pecking problem has started again.  We have 4 Columbian Wyandotte bantams, all sisters, and when they came to us (8 months old) one was feather-pecking the others, they all had bald heads and one had a bare neck.  We put blinkers on the feather-pecker, which had to be replaced once as as soon as we removed them after 2 weeks she started again immediately.  After the next 2-week stint she seemed to stop for several weeks but then started again on the most-pecked chicken.  She is now wearing a bumpa bit and we will see how we go.  However, today we noticed that one of the others is now feather-pecking the pecker - can’t believe it.  (Why does the one being pecked just stand there and let it happen?).  This will mean another bumpa bit.  My question is, why is this happening and will it go through all the chicken.  They have good quality feed and free range during the day; they are let into their WIR at first light and I let them out at about 8 a.m.  Should I increase the protein?  About every week they have a boiled egg and sunflower seeds every day.  They have a treat of mixed corn during the day and twice a week mealworms.  Now and again they have tinned sardines.  It is many decades since I left the farm where we had chicken but I cannot remember this problem.  Any help is appreciated.  (I’ve obviously looked at many sites online about this.)  Thank you.  Stay safe.

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If they have good quality feed AND sunflower seeds they may well be getting far too much protein. I have no idea how that affects them? But I think you should look carefully at their diet because all the extras should not be necessary at all. Ours get good quality pellets and a treat of fine-ground mixed corn which they might see once a month at random. They have plenty of space and fill their time hunting for insects. We also have bantams but none of ours feather peck and haven't for years. We realised that the few cases we had were caused by boredom due to a lack of run space.

I would be looking for lice though as they may be targeting them?

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Thank you, Beantree.  They free range and only spend about an hour in their WIR in the morning before being let out so I cannot think that it is boredom.  (We have a 1/2 acre garden and several acres of land attached into which they can run.).  We put a bumpa bit on the new feather-pecker but she didn’t seem to know how to eat so after a couple of days had to take it off; I’ve just seen her nibble the feathers of two others and so we will have to do something, perhaps the blinkers would be better.  The chicken are starting to get a little nervous of me as we are seemingly always putting attachments on them.

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