by Karla T.
I’m sharing my experience here because it took me a while and a lot of worrying before I found this product. I hope this will be helpful to others in the same predicament.
Chickens will sometimes pluck each other’s feathers out. There are many theories regarding why chickens do this. Some of the suggested reasons are not enough protein in their diet, stress, boredom, and cramped quarters. Apparently some breeds are more likely to pick then others. In our case we believe the picking was caused by boredom from being cooped up during a very cold winter and the breed of half of our chickens (Rhode Island Red).
By the time Spring rolled around my chickens were bare! They had no feathers on their backs, tails or rears. They looked awful and I felt awful about it. I tried different remedies that I read about and nothing worked. Then I heard about Pinless Peepers and I felt that it might be the answer to my problem.
They are basically little blinders that keep a chicken from looking straight ahead. The chicken can still look down to eat, to the sides, and up to fly to its roost but it doesn’t see the tantalizing chicken feathers right in front of its eyes. The blinders are made of plastic and attached to the chicken by two small prongs that enter the chicken’s nostrils.
The Pinless Peepers are available for sale online. I tried local feed and farm supply stores but was not able to find any in stock. There are also special pliers available to help attach them. The pliers were a bit pricey and are not strictly necessary. Other types of pliers can be purchased for much less that will work as well. Some people place them without tools but I have not tried that. My husband had some pliers on hand so we were all set.
Application was definitely a two person job. We went out at night in the hopes that the chickens would be less excitable. That worked fairly well but since we had to use a flashlight to see, I don’t think the trade off was worth it. I picked up and held each bird under one arm and held its head with my other hand. My husband used the special pliers to spread each blinder apart and place it on the bird’s beak. Then we released the bird and moved on to the next. Their reaction was fairly mild. They squawked and shook their heads for a minute then hopped up on their roosts and went back to sleep.
The best news is that it worked! The chickens quickly began regrowing their feathers and within about 3 to 4 weeks were fully feathered. I was hugely relieved and the chickens seemed to enjoy having fluffy butts again. : )