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Hen Pecking

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sgenoways, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. sgenoways

    sgenoways Hatching

    Jan 30, 2017
    Good Evening,

    I have hens only. A few months ago, I noticed one hen that looked "raggedy". I thought it was possible molt, maybe a little pecking but nothing major. Fast forward to a month ago, I went out and she was bloody from having feathers plucked out. I brought her in, doctored her up and she has been doing well. I bought a chicken apron and she wears that just fine. Since then, one of the other girls has just a few feathers missing on her neck, I put some anti-pecking stuff on her. No blood, tiny bit of missing feathers. I still haven't seen who is picking. I just assumed it was more than one of the girls (we have 17). It has been super nice the last couple of days so I put my raggedy hen out in the general population yesterday. She was fine last evening. This afternoon when I went out, she had a bloody tail (the apron moved to the side) and a huge amount of feathers missing from her neck. This time, I saw a hen pick her.
    Here is my question.....should I get rid of the hen that I saw pick her? Is it possible that it is just this one hen that is doing it?

    Thank you for reading this super long note!!

  2. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Songster

    Feb 3, 2016
    It could be that you just have 1 hen who is a bully. It would be best to find out just what is going on with who and why. Typically feather pulling is caused by cramped conditions or protein deficiency. Maybe they are just bored. Maybe you have a serial abuser in your midst. Best Wishes.
  3. MasterOfClucker

    MasterOfClucker Songster

    Jul 19, 2016
    Welcome to BYC!

    As the other poster said Pecking problems can occur when there is a lack of space.Chickens will need about 18% percent protein in the winter, high protein treats such as BOSS,Tuna,Eggs can be given too.The general use of space per chicken is 4x4ft per chicken but that is still probably not enough.You can throw some BOSS in there bedding,Hang a Cabbage,Pecking Block,Suet block,Mealworms.That is just a few things that will decrease fighting.Now your mean hen may have a motive for the other hen.Watch the chickens and see if its just that one chicken.If it is it would be best to separate the mean hen from the flock.If you keep her away for a month or so she will lose her place in the pecking order and the pecking order will have to reestablish.
  4. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    I wouldn't be surprised if it was just one or two hens doing the picking, at least initially--they might start, and some other hens probably join in once they see the blood and feathers being plucked. Some hens are just feather pickers, and should be removed from the flock if they are identified. I would spend a good deal of time watching all of the hens and their interactions, especially around roosting time, and try to figure out which hen(s) are doing the picking.

    Boredom could also be a contributing factor. MasterOfClucker gave some good advice regarding treats and other things to help prevent boredom.

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