A man I know from our local Poultry Club died recently, unexpectedly, his widow didn't want to continue the chicken chores or the feed bill for them so I offered to take their chickens as a favor to them. There are about 6 Buff Orpington hens maybe 1.5-2 years old, a huge Buff Rock rooster 1.5 years old, and about 20 half-grown chicks. The hens have been laying & brooding, that's where they got all those half-grown chicks. I had never seen these birds before I came to get them. They were all in a chain-link dog kennel, about 10 X 24' with a concrete floor. There was a LOT of poop caked on the floor, and it has been pouring rain recently so it was all a muddy slush. The rooster is in good shape but most of the hens have bare or completely bald backs. And most of the chicks have bare backs with just short emerging feathers. The man's grown son was there to help me cage them. I went to pick them up about 5pm yesterday. He said "Oh, they haven't been fed yet so they'll be easy to catch, we'll just put the feed in your cages & they'll all go right in." When he poured feed into the dish the birds went wild trying to get their beaks in it. They do not have mites or lice, and are otherwise lively and in good health. Their eyes & their poops look fine. I have them all in a big pen made from an old trampoline frame. I am keeping the big rooster separately to give the hens a break from his attentions. I gave them Wazine in their water this morning just for insurance. They of course have food available from the moment they were put into that cage. I'm also bringing them green leafy weeds to peck at. One of the hens already laid an egg. Do you think the chicks' bare backs are a result of pecking due to hunger? I do notice them pecking at each other's backs in passing, but would they do that more if they're hungry and also have nothing else to peck at or scratch in? Their pen is on good old dirt now, they've been scratching & taking dust baths. I hope in time their feathers will grow back, I am offering them for sale for $1 each plus whatever else folks wish to contribute to the widow & her family. I cannot afford to keep & to feed them on a long term basis.