Okay, I’ll admit it. I am COMPLETELY at my wits’ end with an outbreak of feather picking. The whole disaster started in early January when my 18 hens (who are now 11 months old) chose to stay in the coop during extremely cold, snowy weather. They had a large run available, but didn’t like the intense cold and blowing snow. My neighbours were ‘babysitting’ and didn’t realize that this was a serious issue. By the time I returned, a week later, the feather-picking was an epidemic. Now, almost 3 months in, I feel like I’ve tried everything I can think of yet at least a third of my hens have horrible, large red bald patches and the problem persists. Most of the damage is around the vent, on the breast, encircling the tail, and sometimes on the legs. Just today, I noticed a bloodied spot near the tail of one of my Easter Eggers, which is a ‘new low’ in this ongoing disaster! Interestingly, I have not been able to identify any clear “bullies” in the flock but the docile Black Australorps and Welsummers seem to be the most severely attacked breeds. In fact, there are only 3 hens who seem “normal” with little or no damage. Here’s what I’ve tried so far: I allow them to free-range ALL DAY from sunrise to nightfall; added more protein to their food; switched from pellets to crumble; offer them high-protein snacks; added another long roosting bar to the coop; ensure they have at least 12 hours of complete darkness at night; added all sorts of mirrors, toys and boredom-busters to the run; painted “Stop-Pick”, Vaseline and Blu-Kote on the picked areas (on separate occasions); and finally, checked for parasites at night with a flashlight and magnifying glass. NOTHING seems to have made much difference! Culling wouldn’t be a great option, since my sensitive little granddaughter has named (and loves) every darned bird. My next tactic might be to isolate the most severely pecked birds in a separate coop for a while but I’m afraid when I return them to the main flock the behaviour will just start over. Thoughts? I would be SO GRATEFUL to hear any advice, ideas, guesses…. anything! I am desperately FED UP. Thank you in advance.