Head hen picking tail feathers out of other hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chikenbutwut, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. Chikenbutwut

    Chikenbutwut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 3, 2013
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    Ugh, my Cochin, Ivy, who is the head hen, is picking the tail feathers out of some of my other hens! Naughty brat! [​IMG] My poor RIR, Rose, who is the bottom hen, only has a few tail feathers left. Of course Ivy's little bum is beautiful and full, while she leaves everyone else looking like crap...my Wyandottes, who use to have gorgeous bums, now look horrible. [​IMG]

    When I got the girls, I got one group of chicks earlier than the other. I've noticed, though she rules the roost over them all, that Ivy doesn't mess with the tail feathers of the later group, only the group she was ordered with.

    She's not picking at the other hens to the point of blood (though I'm afraid she may start), but she has picked the feathers out of their bums so much that Rose especially, has had spots where she was bare. The feathers are growing back in, but I worry about her in this cold weather (though I know some chickens have been known to molt in cold weather).

    What can I do? Any advice will be much appreciated!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Tell me, in detail, what makes up their diet.
    Type of feed (layer, grower, etc.) protein percentage.
    Other things like scratch grains (makeup), treats, forage, etc..
     
  3. Chikenbutwut

    Chikenbutwut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 3, 2013
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    They're on Layena Crumbs (Sunfresh Recipe) - layer. The protein percentage I believe is 16%. They get kitchen stuff...broccoli, eggs, organic butter lettuce, breads, tomatoes, green beans, cooked meats, cheese, etc. They are not able to free range and have to be kept in a run, per my city's rules. I try to put different kitchen foods around the run to alleviate boredom, have different perching areas in the run, area for dust baths and plenty of room in the run. Ivy will fuss over the feeders, so I have a few feeders set up in different areas.
     
  4. Chikenbutwut

    Chikenbutwut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 3, 2013
    Benton, KY
    I was thinking she got enough protein since she's the only one doing it, but maybe I'm wrong in that assumption. That and it's only her "group's" feathers she likes to pick, but maybe she's only comfortable in picking at them. [​IMG]

    Should I add more protein?
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I thought it was odd that she was the only one doing it. A dominant hen will get the treats first but maybe she's opting for the bread and scratch rather than the meat.

    It wouldn't hurt to up the protein for a month to see if it changes.
    She could just be bored.
     
  6. Chikenbutwut

    Chikenbutwut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 3, 2013
    Benton, KY
    I'll go ahead and up the protein like you suggested and see how things go. Will also see what else I can do for boredom busters.

    Thank you so very much!

    Edit to add: She is kinda picky about what she'll eat, so that may be the problem too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014

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