Does moulting make a chicken cantankerous?

Spikes Chooks

7 Years
Sep 10, 2012
Sydney, Australia
I have four 10 month old pullets and the Silver Campine is two weeks into her first moult (it is autumn here). No bare skin but loads of feathers everwhere and she has no tail. True to her breed, she's always been highly strung. A bit flighty, screeches to go free ranging and squabbly. She prefers to stand close to others scratching and steal their worms and bugs, rather than find her own. So she gets a whack for that on ocassion. She is low in the pecking order.

Since starting to moult she has become much more aggressive with the others. Rasing hackles, going in feet first, trying to jump on top of them and pecking the head. Mostly she is the loser, often the Australorp or Barnevelder actually jump on top on her back. The RIR just ignores her and keeps eating.... She also used to jump into my lap each evening when I put them to bed with scratch. Maybe it feels uncomfortable to be touched now? I would usually stroke her, which she likes, but not at the moment.

Could anything else be wrong? Is she just being a jerk? It's been such a peaceful flock thus far, so I'm wondering if that will return once she has finished moulting. The only other change is that the Australorp spent 2 days in the sin bin last week - I put it inside their run so when I let her out, there wasn't any obvious re-establishment of the pecking order. Maybe this has also unsettled her though?

I am giving them a bit of catfood and sardines, which I think helps feathers regrow. Is there anything else I should do?

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