Duck suddenly chewing one hen's feathers?


7 Years
Sep 6, 2015
Central Massachusetts
Last night, I went to do a night check on my birds- and having realized that they were roosting in their run instead of in their coop, I started to move them one by one inside. When I lifted my favorite bird, Maple (the one in my profile) I immediately felt a bare patch (her saddle area). I checked it with my flashlight, did not see any blood, but couldn't figure out what happened. I checked on them again before I went to bed, first thing in the AM, and then throughout the morning until I was home for good and could let them out to free range. She is acting fine, eating, always begging at the gate and the first one to go for treats or scratch.

After letting them out, after seeing them all head towards their favorite spot under a rhododendron bush to scratch around, I kept seeing my female duck nuzzling her- making the same motion on Maple as a duck does when they dig in the ground. I didn't see her pull any feathers. But observing them all for awhile today, none of my other chickens are missing feathers, and none peck at each other or peck at Maple.

I notice that because Maple is so friendly and food-driven, she tends to not get scared away from the feeder or treat basket easily- even if the ducks give her a poke. I also notice that she squats a lot lately- even when I lean down to see her (she started laying less than a week ago).

SO I am thinking she is an easy target and my ducks are poking at her? It's not the drake- seems to be the female. I already ordered a chicken saddle from some shady website (the usual website is sold out).

Anyone have any ideas as to what I can do to keep my duck from bothering her? Spray? Vaseline? Building a separate enclosure for the ducks at this point is out of the question- but should I bring her inside?

I feel so horrible right now.



Overrun with Runners
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jan 3, 2010
Southern New England
I admit I have not heard of this. Could you post over on the duck forum? There are members there who keep ducks and chickens together. Perhaps someone has an idea….


In the Brooder
Oct 7, 2015
Shelby, NC

That's definitely strange since there's no open wound/blood. I would suggest Pick-No-More cover-up lotion. We used it on our rooster a month or so ago to keep the hens from picking at a wound. You can pick up a bottle at Tractor Supply or a similar store for $5.
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7 Years
Sep 6, 2015
Central Massachusetts
They are fed Nutrena All-Flock (since it's 5 hens, 1 duck and 1 drake) and they have free-choice grit and oyster shell. They get veggies most days (greens stuffed into a treat basket, peas and chopped veggies in a bowl, a cut open pumpkin, halve cucumbers, etc…whatever I have on hand), a handful of scratch and BOSS in the AM and PM, and at some point during most days, 1 small handful of either mealworms or cackle berries is shared between the 7 of them. The chickens have a "Hotcake" hanging in the coop for them..I go through about 1 per week.

I had started leaving my coop door open instead of locking my chickens up…I don't have many predators as we are pretty suburban…and my entire yard is fenced. Main concern is hawks and raccoons and our coop/run is secure from them. So I thought maybe my chickens were spending more time in the "duck area" in the run area under the coop where the ducks sleep ...

I did buy a giant flock block but I was saving it for when I go on vacation around Christmas.

I started locking the chickens back up last night….and I upped the BOSS to everyone (no veggies this AM much to their dismay). I also put a big wet log in the run for them to pick on, and changed out the sand so it wasn't so wet (we had 3 days of rain).


Oct 21, 2015
No where Nebraska
Yeah I would try the mealworms. I feed mine cow liver and heart, but but I have a very cheap source. They will happily eat any meat. And I do not mean alot, just add a little bit and see if it helps. It could be that duck it's your not getting enough.

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