How can I stop the Henpecking, or is this not henpecking?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by billy g, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. billy g

    billy g New Egg

    Nov 7, 2010
    We have 7 hens which we bought as chicks about 1.5 years ago. Two Yellow Sex-linked, two Wyandottes, and three RI Reds. They have been henpecking the runt RI red for the last year, and picked a bit on the large Wyandotte for about a month this past spring, then laid off. Over the last four days (OR nights), the other Wyandotte (who has never been visibly pecked before) has lost of all of her neck feathers, many of her head feathers, and is starting to lose feathers on the top of her back, between the wings. my hunch is that she is being pecked aggressively, or could it be some kind of illness? Please give us some advice. Thanks!
  2. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA

    At 18 months old and being that it's fall I'd guess that what you're seeing is the start of their first big molt. Bald hens, no eggs, and the coop looks like a pillow fight gone bad--
  3. bigshoes213

    bigshoes213 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 15, 2010
    Sardis, Ms
    One of my hens lost most of her neck feathers (along the back of her neck) sometime last week but it was due to molting. Maybe that is what is happening to her and not henpecking. (one can hope) I have only had chickens for less than a year so I dont have vast knowledge to draw from yet. good luck solving your mystery.
  4. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    She is probably molting. [​IMG] Don't forget to add a bit of extra protein to their diet to help grow the new feathers!
  5. tammyd57

    tammyd57 Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can tell the difference between molting, pecking and lice/mite infestation (all of which cause feather loss) by looking closely at the bare skin where the feathers have been lost.
    If it's molting, the skin will look normal, not red or irritated or abraded. There may be new pin feathers coming in also.
    If it's pecking, the skin may be abraded, broken or scraped, maybe red or irritated looking, maybe some bleeding.
    If it's lice or mites, you can see the bugs and the skin will look irritated, maybe even rash-like.
    edited to say that roosters can be the culprit when hens lose feathers on their backs and heads or necks, but you don't seem to have any roos.........
    edited again because I thought of another reason for feather loss, but it most likely doesn't apply here: nutritional deficiencies. But if your chickens had that problem it likely would have shown up before now if your hens are 18 months old. Unless you recently made a major change in their feed..
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010

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