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#104313 - 06/20/12 02:08 PM Feather Problem
Maria Ricardo Offline
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Registered: 03/26/05
Posts: 434
Loc: Hawaii
Here are photos of a friend's bird. Does anyone know what this is? One other bird's feathers are not as bad as this one's. I looked closely and saw nothing crawling nor eggs on feather bases. The skin looks good.


0620120931 by Mariaricardo1, on Flickr


0620120930 by Mariaricardo1, on Flickr


0620120931a by Mariaricardo1, on Flickr

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#104314 - 06/20/12 02:18 PM Re: Feather Problem [Re: Maria Ricardo]
Wieslaw Offline
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Registered: 09/18/09
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Loc: Denmark
Just a guess: feather pecking/eating.

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#104319 - 06/21/12 12:47 AM Re: Feather Problem [Re: Wieslaw]
mdenham Offline
Bantam

Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 48
Loc: Charneux, Belgium
Originally Posted By: Wieslaw
Just a guess: feather pecking/eating.

Would you mean:
(a) by the bird himself pecking at his own feathers, or
(b) other birds that are bullying him
If (b) I would expect to see cuts/scratches or other signs of bullying. What I don't understand is that this fellow shows none...
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#104322 - 06/21/12 01:25 AM Re: Feather Problem [Re: mdenham]
Maria Ricardo Offline
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Registered: 03/26/05
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Loc: Hawaii
My friend doesn't report any abnormal behavior going on with the birds, like excessive preening or being attacked by others.

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#104323 - 06/21/12 01:37 AM Re: Feather Problem [Re: Maria Ricardo]
Wieslaw Offline
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Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 3751
Loc: Denmark
Mdenhan, by other birds but without bullying. Snapping a piece of feather from another bird does not require bullying.It's not like they're standing all the time and eat the feathers. I observed it mostly in the morning after eating, during dust-bathing and in the early evening, when they have time to do other things than looking for food. Most probably genetic plus environmental(crowding in my case), as I had a bunch of birds last year, all were from the same cock, started already early as chicks(were culled because of it). But in my case the pecked areas were on the hackles and the upper part of the breast.

Maria , does your friend mean: they had normal feathers and suddenly it changed? Or he/she noticed it first now?

What about some feather eating mites, at nighttime ? Who knows what creatures you have over there in the tropics.

Additional reading:

http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/library/lvstk2/MF2387.PDF


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#104347 - 06/21/12 11:15 PM Re: Feather Problem [Re: Wieslaw]
Maria Ricardo Offline
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Registered: 03/26/05
Posts: 434
Loc: Hawaii
The bird had normal feathers that gradually turned into the feathers in the photos. The owner thought the bird was molting but that doesn't look like any molting I've ever seen.

She will check for mites tonight.

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#104348 - 06/21/12 11:38 PM Re: Feather Problem [Re: Wieslaw]
mdenham Offline
Bantam

Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 48
Loc: Charneux, Belgium
Originally Posted By: Wieslaw
I observed it mostly in the morning after eating, during dust-bathing and in the early evening, when they have time to do other things than looking for food.

Good point Wieslaw - your remark would point me towards a further question: Is your friend feeding the birds dry pellets as food? The reason I ask this is because, when birds are fed pellets they tend to be able to consume their food very quickly (~20 mins). However, when they are fed the same food, but in the broken-down/powder-type form they tend to spend several hours (~3 hours) to consume the same quantity.
When the food is eaten rapidly (i.e. pellet-form), they tend to get bored very quickly and search for other ways to amuse themselves. This could potentially lead to feather pecking.
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#104350 - 06/22/12 05:26 AM Re: Feather Problem [Re: mdenham]
Wieslaw Offline
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Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 3751
Loc: Denmark
Hi Mark, in my opinion the boredom itself is not enough to trigger a certain kind of behaviour, if there are no genes for that behaviour. I have discovered/noticed a certain type (not yet described ) of pecking in some of my birds, and it was restricted to one line of birds, 'non-contagious' to others. I will write about it on the genetic forum shortly.

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#104351 - 06/22/12 06:50 AM Re: Feather Problem [Re: Wieslaw]
mdenham Offline
Bantam

Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 48
Loc: Charneux, Belgium
Very interesting, I await your observations.
On another aspect regarding this problem, I have read that feather pecking is thought to be a redirected foraging behaviour rather than a form of aggression and, to quote "may be due to the hens' mistaken perception of feathers as an appropriate foraging substrate (Riber et al., 2007)".
One of the conclusions regarding this study is that providing supplementary forage for hens appears to be an excellent means of reducing this problem.
Wieslaw, regarding this I would be interested to know if the restricted line of birds in which you noticed this feather pecking was a productive/laying type of breed such as Leghorns or Mediterranean-type fowl? I ask this, since the laying-type breeds tend to have a greater tendency towards scratching/foraging for food.
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www.lemainecoon.be
M: +32 (0) 497-61-03-00

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#104352 - 06/22/12 09:48 AM Re: Feather Problem [Re: mdenham]
IPF Offline
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Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Canada
Excerpt from recent research, reported in Poultry Science; abstract at http://ps.fass.org/content/91/7/1514.abstract?etoc :

"The addition of 10% of feathers to the diet reduced the number of severe feather-pecking bouts (P < 0.0129) and improved plumage condition of the back area (P < 0.001) significantly compared with control diets."

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