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I am working on an article on plucking parents. With parents that pluck their babies in the pinfeather stage in the nest I have learned that many times it is a result of a sodium deficiency. Which has make me wonder if this may be true of self-pluckers.

While researching suggestions of greens/veggies and other foods and suppliments that contain sodium I remembered something I have used which is a Trace Mineral Dust: http://www.allbirdproducts.com/newproductpages/traceminerals.html and will be including this in my article.

From postings on the forum and my past birds many times it is the hen that initially plucks the babies and I have often wondered why. I do know that the pinfeathers contain blood which has trace amounts of sodium/salt that would satisfy a deficient parent. Then I started thinking, how could a hen get deficient? Easy, trace amounts of sodium is in many of the foods that we give our birds to get them in breeding shape. When a hen lays she draws calcium from the bones. This calcium is delivered to the bones from the bloodstream of the hen. In addition to calcium, sodium and other trace minerals needed for laying are included in the shell. Sodium in the body helps with good muscle contraction to expel the eggs. Therefore a hen may become deficient of sodium during the egg laying process, and later plucks to replenish this deficiency.

For those that have plucking parents, you may want to provide the Trace Mineral Dust when you setup your pairs. It can be sprinkled on soft foods, greens/veggies, and/or in a small treat cup.

I believe in supplying what a parent bird needs will resolve the plucking of the babies during the pinfeather stage. It will not resolve plucking of fully feathered babies that are close to fledging age. This type of plucking is a result of the parents wanting the babies to fledge from the box, and start another clutch.

The Trace Mineral Powder might also help adult birds that are pluckers. And also birds that have digestive problems and polyuria. Years ago I used to use trace mineral powder for babies that had slow crop problems. Both the trace sodium and iron aided in digestion.
 

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Which has make me wonder if this may be true of self-pluckers.
I read somewhere that it is but I don't remember the source. With chickens, it seems to be well recognized that salt deficiency can be a factor in adult birds plucking other adult birds.
 
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