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Hen is being picked on and feathers pulled out

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
For now, my chickens (all adults - 11 hens, 1 rooster)are stuck in a 6 x 10 run or so, and a giant breed wire kennel for their "coop". They have all been getting along fine until yesterday (brought them home last sunday), when I came home after dark and saw feathers all over the coop. Scared me at first, as there was only 6 in the kennel, but found the rest perched on top of the kennel. When I went out this morning, I noticed one who's tail feathers were sparce, and loose feathers on the body also. I managed to catch her, and put her in a crate with straw and food for now. Should I just put her back in there and let them work it out? or what? Any idea if this behavior from the other hens will subside after we get their big coop finished and a better run for them? New to this whole chicken thing .. . . now if it was dogs, I would know what to do. sad.png Help!
post #2 of 5

If you put her back in they will most likely just continue and this could turn into even worse pecking and injury to her.  That is a lot of chickens in a very small space and they don't have enough space for roosting at night.  This is unlikely to resolve until they have a much larger area.  The problem with pecking is that it often becomes a habit, so even after they have a larger area this may continue.  Do you have any place at all you can put up some temporary fencing so they can have a larger area to roam during the day, then put them back in the smaller pen at night?  They really need a large area where they can go out during the day to forage, scratch and just be chickens, as well as get away from each other.

wife to long suffering husband who has built more miles of fence, barns, coops and enclosures then one man should have to, two teenage boys, current flock of 13 assorted hens, 1 big red roo and a list of other assorted farm animals. 
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wife to long suffering husband who has built more miles of fence, barns, coops and enclosures then one man should have to, two teenage boys, current flock of 13 assorted hens, 1 big red roo and a list of other assorted farm animals. 
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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

No, we don't at the time.  And even then, with the larger coop, until the weather gets better, They will probably have only around a 10x10 area outside of their 6x8 coop (there's a whole area under the coop also).    Guess we will leave the fencing open in the new area, and those that want to fly out and free range during the day can at that point.  Once they get used to being in the new location, and the bulbs have came up, I can let them free range here and there.  But I worry they will go down the hill in view of the neighbors dogs which wouldn't be good.  The one dog I doubt would do anything, but the new one is a pit and doesn't seem very nice.  

Will a 10x10 area in addition to a 6x8 coop be ok for that many?  And not sure what to do with the one hen until we get the coop finished.  Will she be ok in a dog crate (med sized) for a couple days?  We had planned on getting the coop finished last weekend, but couldn't find enough man power to get the roof on.  And yesterday and today, my husband has had Dr appointments out of town.  Hopefully we can get some guys out here tomorrow to get the roof on so we can finish the coop and get the fencing up.  

post #4 of 5

It will still be a small area for that many chickens, especially if they already have a pecking problem, but with a larger coop they may settle down.  Just have to keep an eye on them and see how it goes.  Maybe toss some hay or leaves or grass clippings into their run and toss some scratch and/or meal worms over that so they have something to do, something to forage for.  The one with the plucked tail will be ok for a day or so in a crate though she cetainly won't be very happy about it. 

wife to long suffering husband who has built more miles of fence, barns, coops and enclosures then one man should have to, two teenage boys, current flock of 13 assorted hens, 1 big red roo and a list of other assorted farm animals. 
Reply
wife to long suffering husband who has built more miles of fence, barns, coops and enclosures then one man should have to, two teenage boys, current flock of 13 assorted hens, 1 big red roo and a list of other assorted farm animals. 
Reply
post #5 of 5

Overcrowding stress induced behaviors, such as extreme aggression or feather picking, can be very difficult to remedy, even if space issues are resolved. That's why it's best not to overcrowd your birds in the first place. If you can't get them more room within the next week or two (at least 10 sq ft of outside space per bird, and at least 4 sq ft of coop space), then consider rehoming some of your birds.


Edited by junebuggena - 2/9/16 at 9:49am
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