Bloody Feathers 7 weeks!! Why?


7 Years
Apr 14, 2012
Palmer, Alaska
Found one of the white silkies with bloodied and broken back pin feathers this afternoon. I'd noticed a bit of pecking at each other now and then, but it never seemed vicious. The flock of 15 have been in the coop for just about a week.

Coop is 8'x8', and so I can't really assume overcrowding is the huge issue at this point. The other things I've read might be problems would be boredom and lack of protein. I don't think they should be bored with their nice new coop at this point, but am putting more branches etc out there in case. They're on pullet grower, and I don't feed them hardly any scraps so I don't think protein should be the issue either.

So, this is my first chick "emergency". She was very calm while I washed off her tail feathers in water, I know they bleed a lot so I wasn't as scared as I could've been (though still pretty shaken). Now I have her with the runt of the litter, a buff silkie, in the bathtub in the house to separate them. I didn't want her to be alone, and though the oddball runt might make good company for her. The buff silkie hasn't seemed overly interested in her bloody tailfeathers. I got all the blood off her feathers but the tips of the pinfeather bases are still a bit red, they didn't bit them all the way down.

Any advice anyone has would be so appreciated. One of my buff plymouth rocks had blood on her beak, so I've taken her out to separate her, she's in the garage right now. Think she must've been the main culprit. Guess I can put her back in with the rest of the flock and just monitor her to make sure she doesn't start in on another one, but I'm just so sad about her and wanted to isolate her for a little while.


Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 15, 2009
Certain mixed flocks don't work well together. A quiet group of mellow birds of varying breeds can work, but you add a few aggressive birds to the group and it can be absolute havoc. You are going to have to keep an eye on things until you see how your group works together. It seems that there may be some problems. I doubt that boredom or protein deficiency is the issue. I think you will find that temperament is the issue. Unfortunately, if this is the case you will need to do some culling because this issue has no other resolution. Chicken jail works temporarily, but aggressive birds remain aggressive birds despite all the "time outs" in the world.

Trying to find new homes for laying hens/POL pullets is very easy. I would decide what your goal in poultry keeping is, and then decide which birds would best suit your goal. Any that do not fit that goal and have proven to be problematic (feather picking, aggression) should be re-homed. Keeping culling until your flock becomes what you want it to be, while also being integrated, not squabbling and injuring each other.

A little shot of Blukote on the silkie's torn up butt should hide the remnants of blood. She will have a blue butt until she molts, but it will cover any traces of blood and prevent any other birds from picking at the area (hopefully).

Good luck.

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