Getting picked on? (Picture)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dawny2u2, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. dawny2u2

    dawny2u2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2009
    Winston, MT
    I returned from a 10 day vacation, and found one of my girls plucked above the rump

    Does anyone know is this something she may be doing to herself. She is the only one like that I see. Is there anything I should do? She wasn't low in the pecking order when I left. Is there a disease that could cause this formation of loss?

    Secondly, I found an eggshell in one of the nests. I know what that means. Is there anything I can spray on the eggs right away to make them taste bad? I would rather try to break this habit than get rid of the culprit. I noticed my turken is hanging around the nests, I do suspect her. She was even sleeping in there when the lights went out. That is odd too! Is that normal that one hen will roost in a nest?
    I will be home for another 5 days, trying to take care of everything that seems to have gone askew. Enjoyed the vacation, but not coming home to new chicken challenges.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010
  2. tammye

    tammye Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2010
    I would bet that one of the other girls is plucking out her feathers, but do check to make sure she does not have mites/ lice on her. Maybe the change in their routine while you were gone created a feather plucker. I know i have one, she is in the dog house right now. Keep a close eye on the hen getting picked on, this can turn nasty really fast, if they draw blood from her, all the hens will pick at the wound and they could kill her, now that being said, I have been dealing with a chronic feather plucker in my flock, I have separated the victim many times, now I am isolating the feather plucker until all feathers are back on my poor Lucy. I just read a thread saying to use pinless peepers on the bad girl, I guess this little device prevents the plucker from being able to pluck out the feathers. Type pinless peepers in the search engine for more info, I know I am going to look into them, I can't seem to stop the feather plucker and mad it's cold up here in NH at night. Also, you can try to add more protein into thieir diets, say with sun flower seeds, may help reduce plucking, but this has not stopped my little trouble maker.
  3. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2009
    Yes, probably another chicken pecking/plucking. Do you have a rooster? Overzealous mating can wear off the feathers in that area, but the pic looks more like pecking to me.

    I think a flock is at higher risk of cannibalism when they are totally confined. They become bored, with nothing interesting to peck at, so they start pecking each other. If they normally go out but were confined while you were away, then it was probably boredom.

    Winter is the hardest time and that's usually when I've seen trouble like this start. They don't go out so much, and there is no green grass or insects to forage for. Try to keep them busy as much as you can. Throw out some chopped fresh greens for them, give treats of scratch/birdseed so they will have something interesting to peck at. Keep the pecking to a minimum as best you can in winter, and, if they get to go out in spring, they will forget all about feather plucking when they once again have grass and bugs.
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    That looks like rooster damage.

    Also, I would check for mites. Mites could explain why one is reluctant to sleep on the roost too.
  5. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2009
    Sleeping in the nestbox is not uncommon in winter, especially if one is molting and needs the extra warmth.

    Finding an egg shell just once in the nest does not necessarily mean you have an egg eating problem....yet. Sometimes one breaks and then someone eats it. For some reason this does not mean it will occur to them to peck the eggs open themselves to get the goods inside. However, if they eat enough broken eggs they will eventually learn to peck them open themselves.

    The best way to prevent egg eating is to remove the eggs twice a day. Do you have someone come to collect eggs while you are away? Maybe it would help to have your "sitter" throw some greens into the coop once a day while you are gone, too. It will keep them busy and maybe stave off mischief.
  6. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    Quote:I agree with this. My most popular hens look like that year round.
  7. dawny2u2

    dawny2u2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2009
    Winston, MT
    Thanks for the feedback. I don't know if being the most popular hen is a good thing,(LOL) takes it toll in the looks department. I haven't seen any evidence of egg eating yet since I have been back, suspect my "sitter" wasn't coming here every day, and hoping getting back in our routine will stop that behavior. Drama in the coop, and winter is tough, no doubt about it.
  8. shellybean40

    shellybean40 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    Boerne, TX
    I do not have a Roo, so I never see this. Poor baby!
  9. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I usually have a hen that looks like that. I put an apron (or saddle) on them and in a few months they are feathered again, then another one needs one. The one that could use one now -- she's not bald yet, only some feather damage -- regularly goes near the roos and squats to try to get them to mate her. Shameless.

    If you have a scrap of polarfleece or an old polarfleece garment, you can make one in a minute with nothing but scissors:

    Or they are for sale on here. I keep a few handy in the coop because I like to keep two roos, in case one loses to a predator. Need to take care of that today....
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2010

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