Hen allowing herself to get pecked....out of ideas

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 10dollareggs, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. 10dollareggs

    10dollareggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 3, 2012
    SE Massachusetts
    First post, so apologies for any errors!

    We have one hen that is lying down in the run and allowing most of the other hens to peck away at the feathers on her neck. Tons of great pecking info on BYC (along with great info on everything I did and didn't want to know about chickens!) but nothing that seemed to match this? We have 6 hens (2 Barred Rocks, 2 RI Red, 2 Amerucana), all about 7 months old, and all grew up together. They live in a 8'x6' coop with a 12'x8' run attached, so I think they are OK with space. They have water in the run and in the coop, with food (Layena) always hanging in the coop and they get scratch on a daily basis along with BOSS, veggies and yogurt a few times a week. All of them are laying eggs, although a couple only just recently. About 6 weeks ago one Barred Rock was getting plucked clean on her head and neck by a hen who eats any feather within sight. Peepers on the feather-lover and BluKote on the bare neck seemed to resolve that issue for a few weeks. Lately, that same Barred Rock is losing feathers on her neck again. This weekend we saw her twice lying down happily in the run with 3-4 hens standing over her pecking away at the feathers on her neck. She was in no hurry to move or get up either time. Her neck feathers (and the new bald spot) are pure blue from the BluKote but that doesn't seem to be bothering anyone. There are 2 hens that seem to be above her in the pecking order but 2 that are very clearly below her. Not one feather is missing from any other hen that we can tell.

    It doesn't seem to fit any of the usual space/boredom/protein/pecking order answers that we have found.....and we're running out of things to try (haven't tried pine tar yet). In general she isn't getting bloodied, just bald, but that cant go on forever. Anyone have anything similar or have any good ideas?? Thanks for any help!
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You might want to pinless peeper the whole lot of them and up the protein in your feed.

    They might be craving additional protein. You can do this several ways: meat scraps, scrambled eggs, or switch to Flock Raiser or unmedicated chick starter. You would need to provide oyster shell on the side with FR and the starter. They are both around 20% protein and most layer feed is 16% protein. Stop all treats like scratch which would dilute your protein.

    I would also paint the area being picked with Rooster Booster pick no more lotion or something similar like Rooster Booster black salve - both taste bad and CAN help but not always.

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