So we thought we would add to our flock with some larger-egg producing red hens. Come to pick them up, and me -- quite the newbie, did not inspect them first. Got them home and they are missing: Most of their tails. One in particular is down to two or three tail feathers. * Some have exposed, red bottoms * Two have their bottom and vents covered up with fine downy feather but no top feathers * One has an exposed, bare, red, irritated looking breast. She is also missing most of her wing feathers and some other ones * They pecked at each other quite a lot, including the bottoms and one on one's head * They fought quite vigourously when put in our flock and challenged * They sort of cower together most of the time These birds do not wander out freely when the doors are opened, and they eat a little bit. They ate snow vs. water. They are mostly very quiet and want to stay in the roosting boxes. I keep hoping they will come and wander around, scratch in the hay and eat what they like. I have put out food in a frozen half-pumpkin and they are getting the hang of eating from a variety of sources. I have a wallow made from ashes and dust. Try as I can, I can't make them get in there. They rushed to eat gravel with all their might, and they just ate the shells from about ten eggs in seconds and wouldn't let anyone else eat any. They don't know what black oil sunflower seed is, and don't peck where I throw feed. The first day I was quite horrified at their appearance and feared mites or lice. I have stared until I am crosseyed almost at their bums and the breast there and I can't see anything moving or dark dots. They all love to crowd into the roosting boxes. They hid and ate hay that way in there instead of coming out and scratching. One does have a black spot on her comb. Then it seemed like she had three black spots. I can't see what it is but it isn't moving. I called our local vet and he suggested perhaps they did not have enough room, feed etc at their last home. They are almost 18 months old, and he said they might be moulting. I am not sure of that. But I have looked and looked and I can't see bugs. I don't have a flashlight and perhaps that will help. I think they had little food and little space. After three days with us, one is out wandering. Two of the reddest bums are pink now, vs. flaming red. The red breast is still red but the other three are getting a bit of a sheen coming out of some feathers. They are red sussex. They are starting to wander about, a bit, and peck, and I have seen them grooming and preening. This is quite a change from just standing about cooing and standing looking scared. One is looking ok but is content to just stand and huddle. I have noticed our flock going into the stalls and preening with all their might. I wonder if I am missing lice and should I worry? They have access to everything a healthy flock needs, except being able to go outside. I live in SK and it is freezing. On a "nice" day, say less than -15, I open all doors and they can go out if they wish but there is so much snow that there isn't anything for them to find. If my girls (and my roos) are preening and seem healthy, should I worry about an epidemic? the vet said it didn't seem like lice but that was me telling him about them. I can try get pictures today. So my question is should I worry about lice spreading, if it is there. I assume it is good signs the bums are pink instead of red now, and watch should I watch for, and am I missing anything to help them be healthy? I do not need eggs every day, I want them to be happy and content to live a good life. I feel terrible they were not treated with respect.