does molting (and therefore not laying) mess with the pecking order?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by miltnerunit, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. miltnerunit

    miltnerunit Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 21, 2008
    hi everyone,

    i need some advice - all their lives, my 2 Ameraucana hens got along like 2 peas in a pod, never straying far from each other, taking dust baths together, foraging in our backyard - it was pretty Utopian. Until Yolko, our 'boss chicken' of the short pecking order, started into her first end-of-season molt a few weeks ago. Since then, she has become a raging you-know-what. I have seen her pluck beak-fulls of feathers out of our poor other hen Sadie's back.
    Sadie, who started to molt a week or so after Yolko, does not know what hit her. Yolko won't let Sadie come near her. She keep food from her. She chases her. Yolko is so preoccupied with harassing Sadie that she seems thinner. I know I may be projecting, but Sadie actually seems, from what I can tell, quite distraught! They used to snuggle up and fall asleep together on the perch, but now they roost in opposite corners. It is a complete and utter falling out.
    Any idea if a hormonal change due to the molt caused this? Or is it most likely a coincidence and is unrelated to molting? They both have quit laying, although Sadie, the second to begin molting, has more recently stopped laying. There was a period where Sadie was laying and Yolko was not. Is Yolko experiencing egg envy? Is that why she is so mean?
    I know I will most likely have to let nature take its course, but if there is anything I can do to help them 'make up' I want to know about it.
    Thanks in advance,

    - k
     
  2. CUDA

    CUDA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Moulting is painful to birds, and will make them grumpy. More than likely, once it is done, they will be fine again. You can see more about moulting HERE . Good luck!
     
  3. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree, the chickens "mood" changes. I mainly notice they become lathergic, they don't seem to forage as often and as long, the hens in full molt just want to hang out under the honeysuckle.
    The hens that usually come running to me and don't mind if I pick them up avoid me all together while molting.
     
  4. miltnerunit

    miltnerunit Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 21, 2008
    That's funny, Yolko is definitely skittish around me right now. i used to be able to pet her and pick her up but now she'll squirt away from me.
     
  5. miltnerunit

    miltnerunit Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 21, 2008
    i'll check that out, thanks CUDA!
     
  6. derby

    derby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yolko!! I love it! [​IMG]
     
  7. miltnerunit

    miltnerunit Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 21, 2008
    thanks, I love Yoko Ono, so I named her after her [​IMG]
     
  8. CUDA

    CUDA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, chickens definitely don't like to be picked up when growing new feathers. It's best just to leave them be until they feather out. Try raising games, and watch how they turn evil during the moult and want to shuffle you all the time when you go into the pen!
     
  9. miltnerunit

    miltnerunit Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 21, 2008
    interesting.
    i didn't think it through enough to realize that it may actually hurt.
     

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