Why Chickens Peck Feathers In Your Backyard Flock

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Feather picking, also known as feather pecking, is a common behavior among chickens and can be caused by a variety of factors. Here are some of the most common reasons why chickens pick feathers in your backyard flock:

  1. Stress: Stress can cause chickens to engage in feather picking as a way to cope with their anxiety. Stressful situations include overcrowding, over-handling, and exposure to loud noises.

  2. Nutritional deficiencies: Chickens that are not getting the right nutrients, such as protein and vitamins, may start feather picking as a way to supplement their diet.

  3. Boredom: Chickens that are not provided with enough mental and physical stimulation may start feather picking as a way to occupy themselves.

  4. Disease: Certain diseases, such as avian influenza, can cause chickens to lose feathers, leading to feather picking as a result of discomfort.

  5. Parasites: Parasites, such as mites and lice, can cause chickens to lose feathers and engage in feather picking.

  6. Light cycle: Chickens have a natural light cycle, and if they are not exposed to enough natural light, it can disrupt their circadian rhythm, leading to feather picking.

  7. Genetics: Some breeds of chickens are more prone to feather picking than others.

  8. Age: As chickens age, they may start feather picking due to natural wear and tear.

It's important to note that feather picking can also be a symptom of an underlying health problem, such as a parasite infestation or a nutritional deficiency. To prevent feather picking, it is important to provide a healthy and comfortable environment, with plenty of space, fresh food, and water, and to keep an eye on your chickens' overall health and well-being.

In conclusion, feather picking is a common behavior among chickens, and it can be caused by a variety of factors such as stress, nutritional deficiencies, boredom, disease, parasites, light cycle, genetics, and age. It's important to take steps to prevent feather picking by providing a healthy and comfortable environment, and by keeping an eye on the overall health and well-being of your chickens. Additionally, it is important to identify and address the underlying cause of feather picking as soon as possible, to minimize stress on your chickens and prevent the behavior from becoming a habit.

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