Is keeping a chicken in isolation for her feathers to regrow stressful?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KelseaD, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. KelseaD

    KelseaD Hatching

    Nov 25, 2014
    I have a Polish hen who has had most of her crest feathers pecked out by the other chickens (she is the only Polish in a flock of 15). I am trying to find a more appropriate home for her, hopefully in a smaller flock where she will be less likely to be bullied. I would like to separate her from the flock so her feathers can grow back fully. It seems as soon as they start to grow they are pecked out again. The only place I have to put her is in a ventilated wooden crate that is about 3 x 4 feet. I am concerned that keeping her in this small space for an extended period of time might be more stressful on her than the bullying. How long does it take for feathers to regrow? Is there anything I can do to make confinement easier on her?

    I have seen one person who taped back her Polish's crest feathers with blue painter's tape to discourage her crest being pecked and to make it easier for her to see. I am considering trying this, but right now she doesn't have enough of her crest feathers left to tape up.

    Also, this may be an absolutely crazy idea, but I was wondering if putting some sort of cap on her would keep her safe from pecking while allowing her feathers to regrow, and that way I could keep her with the flock.

    Any advice would be much appreciated! I am a newbie at keeping chickens. I recently inherited the task of managing a flock we keep at my place of work.

  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Enabler

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado

    I do think it is stressful on them to be alone for a long time.
    Can you put her in a crate in the coop at night and have her in a section of the run that the others cannot get into during the day. I am thinking wall a portion of the run off for her so she can see them and they can see her just not get to her.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    I don't like to seperate a hen from the flock, cause putting them back is stressful to everyone all over again. I'd try spraying her with Blue-Kote all over her head (not eyes, of course!) and keeping her with the flock. See if that keeps them from pecking at her.

    Then again, if you're going to sell her reasonably soon, you wouldn't have to put her back in with the flock. Could you get a slightly larger place and possibly put one other hen (lower-ranked) in with her as company if confinement is going to be prolonged?
  4. KelseaD

    KelseaD Hatching

    Nov 25, 2014
    Thank you both for those ideas. I am anticipating selling her soon, so my plan would be not to introduce her back to the flock, but transition her from the pen to her new owner. Our set up makes it difficult to partition off a portion of the run for her, but I can try crating her inside the coop at night. I think the pen I have is too small to put two birds in for an extended period of time, I would be concerned that the boredom would lead to pecking. I will also try the Blu-Kote.

    Thank you for those suggestions!

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