1. TBoneB

    TBoneB Just Hatched

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    Sep 14, 2016
    Good morning!

    I rescued 5 adult hens in May of this year. I believe they are almost 2. I was getting 5 eggs a day but down to 2-3 a day. That's fine by me. They will stay here as their retirement home.

    Last Saturday morning I went to open the hen house to let them out into their fenced-in yard (15'x26') and 1 stayed inside huddled in the corner. Usually they all rush outside.

    I watched her for an hour and then checked her all over. All her feathers around her vent and up to her tail had been plucked or fell out....or pulled out by the others? A huge bare area...not like the normal molting....and it looked like her vent was pasted shut. I have never seen their back end bare before so I went on your site and read about pasting. I soaked her in a warm bath and cleaned her up. I also mixed and heated water with some canola oil and sprayed in into her vent. She would have a very tiny BM each time. I only did this for 2 days. She has been having small BM's all day so I am not worried about that anymore.

    I also thought that I should quarantine her just in case. I set her up in an XXL dog crate and put her on top of my ping pong table in the basement. She drank some water but would not eat her pellets so I gave her small portions of lettuce, yogurt, tomatoes, peaches, etc, at different intervals which she did enjoy. I think I gave her too much roughage because she had a little bit of blood coming out of her vent on Tuesday. I cleaned her up and reduced the roughage and she has been fine. But she's not eating her pellets.

    Two days ago I decided to put her in the hen house with the door shut to see how she would do, I thought she needed to be around her flock. At night I put her back in the crate. I also cleaned out the house and put fresh hay in case she had some sort of disease. Yesterday she was alert and at the window making little noises - what seemed to be at her friends.

    So this morning I was going to re-introduce her to the flock. I let the 4 girls out first and then put her in the house. I went into the yard just in case. She would not come out of the house. She huddled in the corner.

    Then the biggest and prettiest hen, who must be the queen bee, went into the house and towards her. She freaked out and was trying to get away from her! I intervened but the big hen wanted to get to her. So I took her out of that environment. She is now in another XXL dog crate on my deck, comfy and protected, sitting right outside my door as I type this. She will go in the basement at night and stay on the deck during the day until I hear from you. I don't know what else to do. She has been the absolute best patient! I love her!

    My question is this: Is it possible the other hens pecked her feathers off of her? If yes, why would they do that now? They have all been together since they were chicks. She has had a few of her neck feathers plucked out by the others and one of the other hen's has a ton of neck feathers plucked out! I have witnessed this and try to "teach" them not to but it's not working, haha.

    So sorry for the extremely long letter. I appreciate any help you can give me.

    Best,
    Tina
     
  2. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

    she was probably at the bottom of the pecking order, hens at the bottom often don't stand up for themselves so they are often bullied
     
  3. TBoneB

    TBoneB Just Hatched

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    Sep 14, 2016
    So what should I do? From reading a lot of the posts it seems like I need to keep her separated until all her feathers grow back. Does that sound correct?
     
  4. coach723

    coach723 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2015
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    If she was low in the pecking order then the feather loss could have been from bullying.
    Reintroducing a previously quarantined bird can sometimes be a challenge. And if she was already bullied, even harder because she doesn't stand up for herself. If you can visually reintroduce while still keeping them physically separated sometimes it helps. It may take a while.
    I'd use a large wire crate, or make a small enclosure that she can be inside while everybody can see everybody. That way no one can get beat up or hurt. Observe what's going on. When things seem to calm down between them, then you can let her in with the population and see what happens. This is how I reintroduce and how I add brooder raised chicks to my flock, and I don't rush the process. They have to reset their pecking order and that's just the way it is, brutal as it can be. You can minimize the risk of injury by making sure they have plenty of space to get away from each other. You can also reintroduce at night when they are all on their roosts, and everybody is sleepy, calm and quiet. Sometimes when they wake up together, they just seem to think they were always there. If she just is getting beat up all the time and hurt, you may have to consider re-homing her or the bully.
    Another thought for the feather pecking, if it's happening at night then you may need to space your roosts a little farther apart, or more angle, depending on your set up, so they don't have such easy access to each other.
    Hope any of that is helpful.
     
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  5. TBoneB

    TBoneB Just Hatched

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    Sep 14, 2016
    Thank you, Coach. I will try all of your suggestions.
     
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I would put blue kote anywhere that looks red a would invite extra pecking. I would let her stay with the rest of the flock while quarantining the bully for a while.

    If the feather picking is consistent, they may need a higher protein diet. I think it also helps to regrow the feathers in when they do molt. I don't know if feathers pluck will grow back in until motl either.

    Maybe you can wet the pellets for her. She needs to eat the chicken feed as it is balanced for chickens. I actually use fermented feed and use an "all flock" or "flock raiser" (higher protein) and provide oyster shell on the side since it doesn't have the added calcium of layer. Actually, they don't need the added calcium when they are molting either. And they will eat the free choice oyster shell only as needed.
     
  7. TBoneB

    TBoneB Just Hatched

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    Sep 14, 2016
    Thank you for your input!
     
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    @coach723 Made all very good suggestions, and is what I also do... look but don't touch, & nighttime integration AFTER roost time havoc which breaks out here every night even with 48 feet of roost for 13 birds. I left room for chicken math. [​IMG]
     
  9. coach723

    coach723 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2015
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    Excellent point on quarantining the bully!! I forgot that one and it also is effective sometimes.
     
  10. TBoneB

    TBoneB Just Hatched

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    Sep 14, 2016
    What should I try first? Integrating her back in at night once they are asleep, cage her inside the yard or remove the bully?
     

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