Hen missing all the feathers around her head

88tinkbell

In the Brooder
Sep 24, 2019
10
20
39
Two days ago I let my hens out of the coop and my 18mo. old Buff Orpington was missing most of the feathers around her comb/head area and had some blood, but not alot. I could not find an open wound. I treated it with ointment and noticed when I was helping her another hen would come and peck at her aggressively. I am trying to sort out if they have mites/lice, if she's being bullied or if they are molting. There are feathers from all hens around the run/coop in the last week, all are 18 mo. old. Then yesterday, when I was looking her over again and putting some green goo on her open skin, the same hen again pecked at her sides. I've been trying to watch and she is eating fine, walking fine, and seems OK otherwise but the one hen seems very aggressive towards her, as do a few of the others at random times. She also seems like today she may have been pecked on one of her wattles, as theres some crusted blood. What do I do about bullying? How do I tell if they all have mice/lice or are just molting?
 

88tinkbell

In the Brooder
Sep 24, 2019
10
20
39
I am in SE Wisconsin, and will try to get a pic posted at some point today. I only have 4 hens (all 18mos.) in a large, spacious coop with a large enclosed run - probably in excess of 75 sq. ft. They free range occasionally, but currently an owl living in my yard is prohibiting a lot of that. They get watermelon, kale and other veg/fruit scraps routinely, mealworms and sunflower seeds as treats, usually 1x a day, and currently I feed Nutrena NatureWise Healthy Hen with Fresh Eggs Daily Brewers Yeast/Garlic & Coop Kelp added to it.
 

townchicks

Free Ranging
Dec 1, 2016
1,999
6,517
676
Contra Costa county, Ca.
It is possible that it is all three, or two of those, or one. You definitely have molting happening if there are feathers all over. Look for pin feathers coming in to tell you which one(s) is/are molting. If they are on layer food, they need more protein for molting, so some birds will eat feathers off the others. Try switching to a higher protein feed. Make sure they have plenty of oyster shell available for those still laying.Stop or limit the treats, as that reduces total protein intake. You can also try separating the bully from the flock for a few days, to see if she'll stop pecking at the one hen. Check for mite and lice by closely examining the base of the feathers for egg clusters, and running a white tissue along the roost after dark. If you find red on the tissue, that is from mites.
 

88tinkbell

In the Brooder
Sep 24, 2019
10
20
39
Their feed is 18% protein - is that too low? I try to feed a higher protein in general.
They don't seem to be eating the oyster shells at all, or the grit. I will use your tricks to check for lice/mites - had not heard of the tissue one, thank you!
 

twendt

Songster
Feb 23, 2019
673
2,237
206
SE Wisconsin
Hi, I'm in SE WI also. Can you post a pic of your hen? It sounds like you might have molt and another hen picking at her emerging pin feathers. Or it's just a naughty hen that decided to target this poor girl and is ripping out her feathers. I had a pair of Silver Laced Wyandottes that were buddies, however, the more top hen picked out the lesser one's tail feathers so she really never had much of a tail. For some reason she tolerated it from her buddy......chickens:idunno
 

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