Bully Hen - rehab or cull?

LIAlleyCat

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 17, 2012
10
18
79
I have 6 Barred Rocks that I got at Easter when the were about 4 weeks old. A few weeks ago, I noticed one hen had attacked 3 others, leaving bleeding areas just above their tails. I moved the Bully to another cage I had, sprayed the injured birds with blue cote daily until the feathers started to grow back. Each day, I put out the birds into the run, but the bully stayed in the small cage (with the bottom removed so she could get some grass). No mites noticed on any birds and they were eating a mix of chick starter feed and developer feed in addition to oyster shell, crushed egg shells, bugs, clover, and any other weeds I could find. They are now on just about all developer feed and getting some scratch grains in the morning and evening. Their pen is very near the compost pile and veggie gardens, so they get a decent amount of wayward flies and other bugs.

After the skin healed and the feathers started to grow back, I tried to re-intro the bully bird, and the largest of the plucked ones (still purple butted with pin feathers) attacked the bully. Seperated again.

Next day I put lots of distractions into the pen (including some scratch which we call Chicken Crack) and relased the bully. Everyone seemed fine. Next day I went to work, come home to see two bleeding chickens and the bully ripping off and eating feathers from the birds. So I've seperated again. Once I blue cote the girls, there is no feather plucking by the other 5 when they are together.

Is there a way to rehab the feather plucker? Would giving her away to another flock where she'd start at the bottom cure her or is it once a plucker always a plucker? I don't want to make her someone else's problem but I'm at a loss of what else to do.

I saw in Europe they use something called a Bumpa Bit that stops the chicken from being able to fully close the pointed end of their beak so they can't pull feathers, but can eat and drink normally otherwise. I don't see them available in the US though.

Thanks for reading. New to chicken keeping and hoping someone out there has an answer!
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
119,038
340,290
1,977
New Jersey
There is a product, Pinless Peepers, which obstructs their vision and makes it difficult if not impossible for them to feather pluck. It is a bad habit that is very difficult to stop. Far easier to find her a home in a larger flock where she may be subordinated.
 

LIAlleyCat

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 17, 2012
10
18
79
Thanks for the reply. That's what I was thinking, that she'll stay a plucker in my small flock. Will try to rehome her - perhaps with someone who free ranges their birds. I can't free range, we have small lots and my neighbor feeds over 20 feral cats! Between that and the hawks in the area, my girls will have to be penned up until we move to larger digs.

Thanks.
 

JenBirdRansom

Chirping
8 Years
Dec 23, 2011
244
0
91
Graham/Kapowsin, WA
I have the same problem...but kind of in reverse. I have 2 chickens that don't defend themselves against the other plucking out their lower back feathers until they are bloody. They squat right down and let the other annihilate them! They look exactly alike and are still laying. Its a very frustrating situation. Mean birds.....
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