Hens look horrible.....

Wil781

Songster
Apr 29, 2018
276
527
167
Central Alabama
Four weeks ago I removed my rooster from my hens, he is caged separately, I removed him because my hens were loosing there feathers to what I thought was aggressive breeding. This was 4 weeks ago:

DBC5EE9C-A2F9-4239-AE6F-838CE6B6C156.jpegFFDDF0F7-2D24-46FE-851B-1086246C9E56.jpeg
They are worse now with no rooster, I think I have a mean hen. These are the same girls today:


7AC80398-6136-44C2-AA71-0959193DCE19.jpeg 73F66DC1-6174-4FFA-89F5-818EC248C6C0.jpeg
Any suggestions on what to do, I picked up some chicken saddles but I know some people are against using them but I don’t know which hen is being the bully so I can’t separate her from the flock and I really hate to separate these two because they are already at the low end end of the pecking ladder. Any helpful suggestions are so welcome!
 

Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
27,991
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Watch how your hens interact with one another, especially at roosting time.
In the "older photos" I see what looks like new feathers coming in, but not it looks like those have been plucked out (? is that right?)
What are you feeding? Possibly lack of protein if you have a hen that is plucking and eating those tasty pin feathers.

Your rooster likely was keeping some order. I do know it can be distressing to see bare backs, I've had them. I have also used hen saddles and they gave protection from the roosters nails. IF feathers are broken and the shaft is intact, they won't be replaced until molt. I left saddles on the girls during molt too and their feathers grew back in just fine underneath.
Some are for/against saddles - I would probably use them again if needed. Do what you need to do for the ladies.
 

Wil781

Songster
Apr 29, 2018
276
527
167
Central Alabama
They are eating Layer Pellets and I mix in some Feather Fixer. I believe this afternoon I will put the rooster back in with the girls and put the saddles on these girls so that hopefully they can recover. I think this all started with a molt but these two never got feathers back and from the very red irritated skin I’m positive one or more of the other girls is being a bully. Thank you for your advise.
 

Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
27,991
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Southern N.C. Mountains
They are eating Layer Pellets and I mix in some Feather Fixer. I believe this afternoon I will put the rooster back in with the girls and put the saddles on these girls so that hopefully they can recover. I think this all started with a molt but these two never got feathers back and from the very red irritated skin I’m positive one or more of the other girls is being a bully. Thank you for your advise.
You can always pen the rooster for several hours a day if you feel the girls need a break. I would let him roost with them at night. Morning and evening seem to be the most "active" time for the roosters I have (and had). But yes, I do think you have a feather plucker there too especially if they are getting worse without him. That behavior may stop if the rooster is added back, time will tell.
 

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
18,126
24,408
906
southern Michigan
Have you looked at night with a flashlight for mites or lice? Any chance there are feather mites there?
If you have one hen who looks good, it might be her.
I had more feather picking with production red type hens, and no longer have them. Do you see this behavior at all during the day? Watching hens who roost next to each other will be interesting too.
Some birds have poor feather quality, and will have this problem because of that.
Mary
 

Wil781

Songster
Apr 29, 2018
276
527
167
Central Alabama
Have you looked at night with a flashlight for mites or lice? Any chance there are feather mites there?
If you have one hen who looks good, it might be her.
I had more feather picking with production red type hens, and no longer have them. Do you see this behavior at all during the day? Watching hens who roost next to each other will be interesting too.
Some birds have poor feather quality, and will have this problem because of that.
Mary
Mary I have three hens that are pristine, no loss of feathers, then I have one hen who looks like feathers are ruffled but don’t really see any major loss, then I have these two who were introduced to the existing flock a year ago and are the bottom of the pecking order. When they started molting back the first of September they all lost feathers but it wasn’t a bad molt, but these two just kept getting worse. All my girls are Golden Comets, and occasionally I will see one of the older hens act grumpy towards one of the younger girls. I haven’t checked for mites but I will tonight. I plan on watching to see if anything is happening on the roost tonight also. Thank you for this information.
 

GC-Raptor

Crowing
Jul 26, 2016
3,359
4,459
391
Connecticut, USA
I have three hens that are pristine, no loss of feathers, then I have one hen who looks like feathers are ruffled but don’t really see any major loss, then I have these two who were introduced to the existing flock a year ago and are the bottom of the pecking order. When they started molting back the first of September they all lost feathers but it wasn’t a bad molt, but these two just kept getting worse.
All my girls are Golden Comets,
My first Flock was 5 Golden Comets.
I raised them on 18% Start & Grow feed till they started to lay at 16.5 weeks. I then switched to a 18% layer feed by mixing with the Starter feed over 2 weeks.
Around the age of 1.5 years I switched to a 16% layer feed and feather picking started around 3 weeks later.
I switched back to a 18% layer feed, but I also bought Pinless Peepers and put them on the 3 culprits for 3 weeks.20180128_101256.jpg. That stopped the feather picking. I still have 2 of the Comets, they are 46 months old. I have not had a problem with feather picking since.
I have been feeding a Non-Medicated Starter-Grower or a All-Flock/ Flock Raiser crumble 18-20% for nearly 2 years now with Oyster Shells separately.
There are a couple of 18% layers feed too.
I have since bought Barred Rocks, they will be 18 months old tomorrow. They have never had a 16% feed.
If you give treats frequently like Scratch Grains, Cracked Corn or veggies. An 18 to 20% Protein feed would be a wise choice for Chickens in my opinion.
I give my chickens scratch daily scattered in their pen as a treat.
They are eating Layer Pellets and I mix in some Feather Fixer.
The Feather Fixer is meant to be fed exclusively during molt.
It says on the bag that it can also be fed year round. I like the feed and bought it myself, but it is expensive. GC
ETC; a duplicate word.
 
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Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
18,126
24,408
906
southern Michigan
When i looked at the Feather Fixer analysis, it wasn't better than the Flock Raiser that i feed, except it had more oyster shell for the layers. Kind of funny, because molting hens often aren't laying eggs and so don't need that extra calcium anyway. Also it was significantly more expensive then Flock Raiser, which is a better choice for my birds who aren't actively laying eggs. Oyster shell is very inexpensive, and is out there all the time.
If something is fresher, by mill date, at your feed store, that's what's good to consider. Aside from that, try Flock Raiser, not Feather Fixer, and less or no layer feed, and see if your hens get better feather growth.
Mary
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
74,951
81,886
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SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
When i looked at the Feather Fixer analysis, it wasn't better than the Flock Raiser that i feed, except it had more oyster shell for the layers. Kind of funny, because molting hens often aren't laying eggs and so don't need that extra calcium anyway. Also it was significantly more expensive then Flock Raiser, which is a better choice for my birds who aren't actively laying eggs. Oyster shell is very inexpensive, and is out there all the time.
If something is fresher, by mill date, at your feed store, that's what's good to consider. Aside from that, try Flock Raiser, not Feather Fixer, and less or no layer feed, and see if your hens get better feather growth.
Mary
Exactly! .....one of my biggest marketing scam pet peeves.
 

Wil781

Songster
Apr 29, 2018
276
527
167
Central Alabama
I have put the saddle on the girls and brought the rooster back in with them. At first I put the saddles on the hens that had feather loss and the next day, the hen that only looked as tho her feathers were ruffled, I can see bare skin so put saddle on her. Everything seems to be going good and Mr. Peck (my rooster) is much happier and the girls seem happier also. I keep oyster shell in their coop so anytime they want it is there, I also give a small handful of dehydrated fly larvae daily. I think I will start feeding them Flock Raiser since the protein content is higher.0938B80A-B44B-4E7A-8B54-062D1D83E5F4.jpeg
F1092828-0158-4632-B9D5-6B87E7447A5B.jpeg FC0C785A-B528-4383-859C-258A76AEBEDA.jpeg
Thanks for everyone’s help hopefully these girls will have all their beautiful feathers back soon!
 

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