Feather picking in hens can be caused by a variety of factors, including boredom, stress, and poor nutrition. Here are some tips to prevent feather picking in hens:
- Provide a spacious and clean living environment: Make sure that your hens have enough space to move around and that their living environment is kept clean and dry. A dirty or cramped living space can cause stress and boredom, leading to feather picking.
- Provide enrichment activities: Hens need things to do to keep them occupied. Provide them with access to a dust bath, perches, and toys like hanging cabbage or seed balls. You can also scatter food around their environment to encourage foraging.
- Ensure proper nutrition: Hens require a balanced diet with enough protein, vitamins, and minerals. Make sure that they have access to a good quality layer feed and supplement their diet with fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein sources like mealworms or crickets.
- Check for pests and parasites: Parasites like mites or lice can cause irritation and discomfort, leading to feather picking. Check your hens regularly for signs of pests and treat them promptly if necessary.
- Monitor the flock for bullying: Some hens may bully others, leading to feather picking. Keep an eye on your flock and separate any birds that are causing problems.
- Provide shade and shelter: Exposure to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight can cause stress in hens, leading to feather picking. Provide shade and shelter to keep your hens comfortable.
Remember that feather picking can be a complex issue, and it may take some time to identify the underlying cause. Observe your hens regularly and make changes as needed to keep them healthy and happy.