I posted in one of the chicken forums and they recommended I also post here...
Last night, I went to do a night check on my birds- and having realized that they were roosting in their run instead of in their coop, I started to move them one by one inside. When I lifted my favorite bird, Maple (the one in my profile) I immediately felt a bare patch (her saddle area). I checked it with my flashlight, did not see any blood, but couldn't figure out what happened. I checked on them again before I went to bed, first thing in the AM, and then throughout the morning until I was home for good and could let them out to free range. She is acting fine, eating, always begging at the gate and the first one to go for treats or scratch.
After letting them out, after seeing them all head towards their favorite spot under a rhododendron bush to scratch around, I kept seeing my female duck nuzzling her- making the same motion on Maple as a duck does when they dig in the ground. I didn't see her pull any feathers. But observing them all for awhile today, none of my other chickens are missing feathers, and none peck at each other or peck at Maple.
I notice that because Maple is so friendly and food-driven, she tends to not get scared away from the feeder or treat basket easily- even if the ducks give her a poke. I also notice that she squats a lot lately- even when I lean down to see her (she started laying less than a week ago).
SO I am thinking she is an easy target and my ducks are poking at her? It's not the drake- seems to be the female. I already ordered a chicken saddle from some shady website (the usual website is sold out).
Anyone have any ideas as to what I can do to keep my duck from bothering her? Spray? Vaseline? Building a separate enclosure for the ducks at this point is out of the question- but should I bring her inside?
I feel so horrible right now.