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Pecking order, feather pulling problems

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone big_smile.png

I've had quite a few problems with my flock and the advice on here has been amazing, so I thought I would run something by you all.

I've had some problems with the health and egg quality of a few of my hens (I had 6 now have 5), turns out we were treating them too much and they weren't eating enough of their layer pellets.

Sadly we lost one hen, and the others are on the mend.

So here's my issue: one hen was quite unwell, she was also at the top of the pecking order. She is now being terrorised by Betty, another hen in the flock. To the point she is bleeding in several places and is very frightened of the other hen. It's not just a peck, or warning either, Betty actively seeks her out to have a go.
The top 3 hens are constantly squabbling, and they all try to avoid Betty who is a feather puller.
This morning the coop was full of feathers.
The hens are all free range during the day, have lots of water, are fed 2 times a day with layer pellets, get silver beet, and sunflower seeds to scratch, they also get medicated treats a couple of times a day. They are other wise happy, and well cared for.

So......I have seperate emerald (the bleeding hen) and put her in the run, I will order some healing spray for her. I have also taken Betty and put her in the large roost to try and chill her out a bit, the other 3 are free ranging....

Is this ok?.?

I also tried vics last night, but it only made things worse....

Betty is our tamest, largest, healthier hen, and the only one who lays regular eggs.

They got along fine before the illness. Emerald came to us with only a few feathers, she was the roosters favourite, so she has a lot of exposed skin.

Any suggestions muchly appreciated
post #2 of 9
What health problems are you dealing with, and how old are your chickens. I would remove the bully for a few days to see if the others calm down than try reintroducing her. I'm guessing from you post that your hens are requiring more protein in their ration, have you switched to a higher protein, also I would let them eat all they want of the ration and limit any treats.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yes they are fed the highest protein pellets I can find, I need to invest in one of those step on feeder things I think, I feed them half their ration at a time to stop the wild birds eating it.

Most of the health problems were around them being egg bound with shellless/ soft shelled eggs, Betty is the only one who lays normal daily eggs. I am now feeding them calcium tabs, have done for almost 2 weeks I think, and still only get the eggs from Betty plus maybe 2 other eggs a week...still lots of shellless. Emerald just had severe diarrhoea for a week, but it's come right, all have been wormed and feed probiotics.
They are 2 years old, we have had them for 2 months.

They sound stressed don't they? The only thing I can think of is that we live quite close to train tracks and the train honks its horn frequently.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Is the roost ok for the bully? Or do I need to bring her inside? She can't see the other hens but can hear them
post #5 of 9
If the roost is away from the flock than it should be okay, any hen removed will lose her place in the pecking order, sometimes it's enough to knock a bully down from the boss position. Have your hens molted yet, all hens over a year will quit laying to molt in the fall. If you've only had them for two months they may still be adjusting, two years is old for a chicken as far as being moved to a new home, young ones will adjust faster, older will take a bit longer, though they should be getting a bit comfortable by now.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
I need to update my profile; I'm in New Zealand so we are just entering summer.

However I've just been reading up on molts and maybe emerald is?

Here's a pic of her last week, when she was unwell:




And then 2-3 days ago her quills went dark and I have noticed tiny little feathers coming through:




Poor thing looks a mess.

I wonder if these new feathers are too deliciously tempting for Betty who has a habit of nibbling on everyone's feathers?
post #7 of 9
She is experiencing a extremely hard molt, that's why she looks so sick, it's uncomfortable and for her it looks painful, because of this they will act a little nutty, over reacting to everything which makes other hens peck at her because of her behavior, best to leave her alone and provide a place or two for her to get away from the rest, try not to touch her too much, poor girl, the extra protein will help her molt more quickly.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #8 of 9
Medicated treats?
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ahhh I wondered if it were a molt just a result of her previous environment. 2 of the girls are missing feathers which could help explain the lack of eggs. She is definitely sore, and very very hungry.
She refused to sleep with the others on the roost last night, opting to camp out in the garden, so I have given her the whole front yard to herself today and left the others out the back.
Betty is still bossy, but the others are managing to steer clear of her.

Medicated treats: bits of banana or strawberry rolled in crushed calcium and probiotics 🐔🐓
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