Hen plucking my molting chicken feathers

icy_flames

Songster
Jan 9, 2021
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CO
Hi, I have 6 chickens molting right now with my New Hampshire Red going through the worst of it. She pretty much has no butt feathers.

I've been feeding extra protein everyday like meat and scrambled eggs. It's helping just wish feathers would grow faster!

Anyway my Australorp plucked one of my molting chickens pin feathers today and has decided "this is fun" or the blood must taste good to her. Now she won't stop. I have her separated in my run extension with food water and a small shelter. She is one of my only layers right now and not molting. How long do I need to keep her separated so she "forgets" all about the pin feathers coming in?

I live in an urban setting. She definitely has to roost with the flock at night. It's been 30 degrees and lower at times.

This is so frustrating:tongue
 
Last edited:

All4Eggz

๐•๐•–๐•ค๐•ฆ๐•ค + โ„‚๐•™๐•š๐•”๐•œ๐•–๐•Ÿ๐•ค = ๐“๐“ต๐“ต ๐“˜ ๐“๐“ฎ๐“ฎ๐“ญ
Apr 23, 2021
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How long do I need to keep her separated so she "forgets" all about the pin feathers coming in?
Until no more blood is visible on the chicken she pecks. If she continues to peck, separate her for another couple of days.
Is she eating the feathers, or just plucking them off?

I live in an urban setting. She definitely has to roost with the flock at night. It's been 30 degrees and lower at times.
She can roost with the flock as long as she's not close to the bullied chicken. As soon as light appears in the morning, she will probably go back to pecking. So if you let her roost with the rest of the chickens, make sure you're ready in the morning to separate her for the rest of the day.

Feed the bullied chicken extra protein like mealworms, eggs, and meat every day. You can do a private little breakfast with her every day until her feathers are almost back to normal.

If you can, please post pictures of the bloody chicken that's being bullied.
Is the bullied chicken low on the pecking order? What do you feed your chickens?
Post pictures of the run and coop area as well. They might not have enough space if the bullied chicken has nowhere to hide from the bully chicken.

Good luck โค๏ธ
 

icy_flames

Songster
Jan 9, 2021
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CO
Hi, here's a pic of Red. It's not the best but you can tell she's missing alot of feathers. I will try to get a better pic later on today.

I don't see any visible spots of blood on Red so it's almost like my Australorp has figured out if she plucks the pin feathers that's where the blood is. I let them out this morning to start my chicken chores and she immediately sought Red and plucked her twice. She does this to my Buff Orpington and Easter Egger as well but most of the time it's red because she has the worst of the moult going on right now. My Buff is higher on the pecking order and checked her yesterday when she plucked ๐Ÿ˜…

I separated Raven my Australorp again. Our setup is a 10 x 10 run plus a 5x 5 run extension that i can close off for time outs. Raven is confined in the five by five run while the other six chickens are in the 10 by 10 run. I put some pick no more lotion on Red this morning. kind of padded it on with a paper towel because I did not want to grab her. She has hundreds of pin feathers coming in.

I have pinless peepers that I bought ages ago. Ended up not using. I'm trying to make these a last resort because I've heard if they are not inserted correctly can cause a lot of damage but yes they are an option here.
CC_live_1636747601673~2.jpg
 
Last edited:

All4Eggz

๐•๐•–๐•ค๐•ฆ๐•ค + โ„‚๐•™๐•š๐•”๐•œ๐•–๐•Ÿ๐•ค = ๐“๐“ต๐“ต ๐“˜ ๐“๐“ฎ๐“ฎ๐“ญ
Apr 23, 2021
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if they are not inserted correctly can cause a lot of damage
They will cause less damage than the damage your hen is doing to the other hen. If you have them, I suggest you use them.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
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I too would add the peepers. If this habit gets established, you may wind up culling the bully, as it is very difficult to break.

If the pins are coming in, they turn into feathers pretty quick. But I would leave the peepers on for a week after that, as I would want this habit stopped. Bullied and feather picking is considerably worse than wearing peepers. And with wearing the peepers - she can probably be with the flock.

You do sound like you have enough space - do you have hideouts, roosts, platforms, or other clutter, with multiple feed stations out of sight of each other? Those can help too.

Mrs K
 

All4Eggz

๐•๐•–๐•ค๐•ฆ๐•ค + โ„‚๐•™๐•š๐•”๐•œ๐•–๐•Ÿ๐•ค = ๐“๐“ต๐“ต ๐“˜ ๐“๐“ฎ๐“ฎ๐“ญ
Apr 23, 2021
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icy_flames

Songster
Jan 9, 2021
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255
106
CO
I put peepers on this morning. Took a few tries as I did it myself. My husband didn't want to help ๐Ÿ˜ซ

I think she is getting used to them. She still picks at Red (worst of the molting) if she can see her walk by on her side. I'd say there is some improvement. At least everyone can be together. Closing them off everyday was getting excessive. Here's pics from my run camera of their heated waterer(blue) two feed stations green), and where i put their oyster shell(pink). Will she be able to eat and drink normally at those set ups? I'll try to watch her on my camera for majority of the day.
CC_live_1637849651671~5.jpg
CC_live_1637849651671~4.jpg
 
Last edited:

swimmy44

Songster
10 Years
Apr 2, 2011
43
86
119
Hi, I have 6 chickens molting right now with my New Hampshire Red going through the worst of it. She pretty much has no butt feathers.

I've been feeding extra protein everyday like meat and scrambled eggs. It's helping just wish feathers would grow faster!

Anyway my Australorp plucked one of my molting chickens pin feathers today and has decided "this is fun" or the blood must taste good to her. Now she won't stop. I have her separated in my run extension with food water and a small shelter. She is one of my only layers right now and not molting. How long do I need to keep her separated so she "forgets" all about the pin feathers coming in?

I live in an urban setting. She definitely has to roost with the flock at night. It's been 30 degrees and lower at times.

This is so frustrating:tongue
Suggest you cage her with a mild mannered hen from your flock. When she heals it will be a other transition to the flock of she is not solitary for days or weeks. Buy some bag balm for her wound and slather it on. It will act as anticeptic as well as mask her smell and the blood odor. When you put her back with the others put bagbalm on the others' beaks - avoid nostrils - and none can smell her or anything else. Good luck.
 

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