Help! Hen problems...

LedgeWoods

Songster
9 Years
Apr 18, 2010
137
7
114
Midwest
After going through numerous posts of similar issues, I'm still stumped. Here's some background: Over the past few weeks I believe I've developed some mean BO's picking on other girls. It started with them picking on a few of the SLW's and one of the Americaunas (Fefe). The "targets" had feathers picked from around their rump and on their back by their tail. Fefe ended up with a hole in her back one day when they must've ganged up on her. I Blukoted her and the SLW's and put some pine tar on Fefe as well. I upped their protein with BOSS morning and evening instead of their usual scratch. (They get Layena pellets besides.) AND...with the nicer weather and grass starting to show from under all the snow, I've been letting them out all day to free-range. OK...so they were good for a few days, but now we're back to picking again. I also see that the Black Australorps have all lost feathers from around their necks now. The only unscathed birds are all 18 Buffs and the 4 RIR's. I have NO ROOSTER and have looked for bugs/nits and think I can rule that out. I HAVE seen a buff or 2 or 3 or 4! being bullies. One of the SLW's seems afraid to come down from the roost for fear of getting pecked.
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And on top of it all, egg production is down to a dozen a day out of 38 birds! I thought springtime was supposed to be bumper-crop egg laying time! All the birds will be 1 year old in April. and their coop is 7'x16' with 4 south-facing windows. They were producing 25+ eggs a day in the cold dark December we had - I was expecting at least that many now that it's warmer with more daylight. I do have a nightlight in the coop - should I remove that to help stop nighttime pecking? Do I change brands of layer feed? Am I seeing molting and pecking? Anything I could try aside from trying to figure out who the bullies are?
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Imp

All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle
11 Years
Sep 7, 2008
14,453
181
318
The Emerald City
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If you figure out who the bullies are, you can seperate them, by putting them in "chicken jail".

Seems like an odd time for them to molt. Are any pinfeathers coming in?

Maybe turning off the light will help.

I'm not sure about the laying, might just be a little early in the year.

Good luck

Imp
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
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Southern Oregon
Unless you have a run you didn't mention, I'm thinking overcrowding is an issue. You've got less than three square feet/bird, that's too crowded. Even with the free ranging during the day, I'm thinking they're just flat getting on each other's nerves and need a lot more space.
 

Mahonri

Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
May 14, 2008
30,366
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546
North Phoenix
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Figure out who the bullies are and remove them.

if you can afford it, feed them some salmon or other fish. up the protein some more.
 
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LedgeWoods

Songster
9 Years
Apr 18, 2010
137
7
114
Midwest
We fish a LOT, so I could spare some salmon that's in the freezer...but won't that make the eggs taste funky? Raw or cooked fish?
Thanks for all the input so far!
 

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