Chickens plucking each other?


Flew The Coop
12 Years
Apr 16, 2007
All my EE's have been plucked! All of them on their backs and one on her head. It's not the roo doing it. I witnessed a RIR pulling feathers of an EE this afternoon.

Is it a pecking order thing?

It's NOT a nutrition thing, they are 100% healthy.
Try giving them a protein supplement feed and black oil sunflower seeds. Increased protein and increased methionine should help IF they are eating feathers for those two reasons. Even on complete layer feed, for some reason it always seems that those two things become lacking in the healthiest of flocks. If they are pecking and dropping them on the ground... it may be something else. You have a big run so I don't really see how they would be bored in it.

However, I forget if you have a roo? The EE's could be at the bottom of the order and get extra lovin from the roo. Larger roos tend to do more damage even if it is not intentional. Then the exposed areas attract the girls. Antipick or bluekote may help out the bald spots.
She was picking out the feathers and dropping them, not eating them.
Lack of protein can cause picking of feathers.

Most likely it is unfriendly hens.

But if it only you EE,s? are they a minority? Are they younger?

I have had hens that are very mean an pluck feathers but they do not discriminate by race or breed . (not just EEs,ect).

Try to narrow it down.

I can't figure it out. Narrowing it down is hard when it's not the roo doing it, the RIR I saw do it spit the feathers back out and it's only my 5 EE's that are being picked on and they're all the same age.
I say put that RIR in her own area so she can't pick on the other hens. If you see their feathers growing back, she's the culprit. If not, you know you have others since you did see that one hen plucking.
Then from there, I suppose you could either build the naughty hens their own coop and run or re-introduce them after some time so they come back in at the bottom of the pecking order.

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