Bullied molting hen

playfullife

In the Brooder
May 30, 2017
19
11
41
My 3 chickens all went into molt a little over a month ago. Lately, one of them has been more obviously molting, with visible pinfeathers, and it's become clear that the other two are bullying her - kicking her out of the hen house, chasing her away from the kitchen scraps I bring to the pen, etc. She even tried to get out of the pen and come with me when I opened the door this morning - my girls are shy and they usually back away when I open the door.

I don't see blood or signs of serious injury yet. Isolating the bullies is not practical as the two other hens are both in on it and the coop is small. Should I take the bullied hen out and keep her in a dog crate on the porch for a few weeks until her feathers come in? If so, how do I reintroduce her to the coop? I'll need to do so by Christmas, when the chicken sitter comes while I'm visiting family. I'm putting them on a feather fixer feed to try to speed up the process.
 

BullChick

Enslaved by a Duckling
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Apr 17, 2012
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Coffee shop in zone 5
Never separate a bird alone. Unless it’s the bully. Re-introduction will not be pretty!
Try a saddle first.
1E1F2C99-65E7-4D00-BC6A-83E3DA67A26D.jpeg
No, no! Not that kind of saddle!
8A9C2090-5030-4AD6-A1F7-3197645B6973.jpeg
These can be made by you, or bought online. They are great to have!
Contact @Auroradream26 if you want to buy from a member.
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
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Southern N.C. Mountains
My 3 chickens all went into molt a little over a month ago. Lately, one of them has been more obviously molting, with visible pinfeathers, and it's become clear that the other two are bullying her - kicking her out of the hen house, chasing her away from the kitchen scraps I bring to the pen, etc. She even tried to get out of the pen and come with me when I opened the door this morning - my girls are shy and they usually back away when I open the door.

I don't see blood or signs of serious injury yet. Isolating the bullies is not practical as the two other hens are both in on it and the coop is small. Should I take the bullied hen out and keep her in a dog crate on the porch for a few weeks until her feathers come in? If so, how do I reintroduce her to the coop? I'll need to do so by Christmas, when the chicken sitter comes while I'm visiting family. I'm putting them on a feather fixer feed to try to speed up the process.
You can try adding another feed station and spacing treats further from each other.
A lot depends on the room you have in your coop/run.

I would not remove the bullied hen completely, if you feel that she needs some separation put the dog kennel inside the run or coop. Cage her for either all day or for most of the day. I would try letting her out for at least an hour or so before roosting and let her roost with the others.

Sometimes a molter can act a bit crazy and really draw attention to themselves. I have one:rolleyes: Her actions seem to tick the others off. I usually just watch for a while, if she finds a place where she can calm herself, then usually all is pretty well for most of the day. I do have time to do this though (wait and watch). I also watch to see that she is getting to eat/drink. However....a couple of days in a row she was really spazzy, so that drew the ire of the rooster, head hen and another - they did not harm her, but it was starting to get ugly. I put her in the grow out pen for 1/2 a day - that seemed to help a lot and everyone calmed down.

Give it all some time. Molting does not last forever, but it can be rough on all involved.
 

playfullife

In the Brooder
May 30, 2017
19
11
41
I'll give those ideas a try as well, @Wyorp Rock . Thank you!

One question about chicken saddles, @BullChick - these protect the chicken's back, correct? Most of the bullied hen's molt is currently the breast area. Is it still worth a try?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
94,977
125,513
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I've found blukote to attract more pecking attention...often by the bird who's wearing it, they want that crap off their skin/feathers.
Saddles can make the pin feather even more uncomfortable.
I'd avoid using either.
There's no quick magic fix to this problem...follow @Wyorp Rock's advice.

BRAhahaha!! :lol::gig:lau That is hilarious.....thanks for the guffaw!
 

OneMountainAcres

Smothered in Feathers
Project Manager
Premium Feather Member
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May 14, 2013
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Good luck with your girl! If it's possible to remove the bully, even for a day, it would probably help. Extra protien is a great start to try to speed up molt so hopefully she can get through it quickly. A saddle would help if she's getting pecked on her back but if it's on her breast, it really won't help much.
 

Matzwd

Songster
Apr 9, 2018
693
804
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St Louis, Missouri
I apologize for jumping into your conversation, but I have a question that is related. What is the best solution when you have a molter who is being bullied and it is freezing cold? I might have messed up and brought my molting girl inside after her comb was pecked to bleeding. I have been taking her out for supervised visits with the flock and have left her out for the day if the temps were not super low, after making sure she would be safe with the bully. Her comb is better, but she can't seem to handle the wind and cold and ducks away when she's out. I've reprimanded the bully, and she's doing really well at leaving the holder alone, but what about the temps when the girl losing feathers wants to be alone?
 

MANNA-PRO

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