Is this Molting or being picked on

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ProwseKM, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. ProwseKM

    ProwseKM New Egg

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    ~~Of our 6 hens that are about 10 months old, we have 2 Giant Jerseys.

    One of them has a bare neck & the other is missing feathers in the same spot. I've read that usually, molting happens between 12-18 months, but I've also read here it could happen at about 12months + or -.... what do you think? is this Molting or could they both be picked on? Our other hens are (1) RIR & (3) Americaunas Of the 6 we're getting anywhere from 3-5 eggs a day...we have had a heat lamp in their coop (dusk-dawn) for about 2 weeks now....and since that at least 1 of the hens is laying between 7pm & 7 am.... We do have a lame rooster (banty) and (2) Polish hens in an adjacent run...if that matters to stress levels thanks! k
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    My guess is that they are having feathers pulled out. I don't see a lot of feathers growing in in the bare area; if they were molting, I'd expect to see more coming in. However, it is difficult to tell the reason for sure. 10 months old is a common age for chickens to molt, so its just as likley as them being picked on. I'd watch your birds for 15 minutes or so, and see if any bird in particular is pecking the others. If it looks like the problem is picking, try isolating the bully for a few weeks, then introducing her back. BlueKote spray could also help prevent picking.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree! Paint Blu-kote on those fleshy areas to disguise the pink skin, which just excites more picking. I also believe it's probably picking and not molt, as molt usually has lots of pin feathers in the bare area. With picking, the pin feathers get plucked out as soon as they emerge. It's an addiction because those pin feathers are rich in blood and very, very yummy.

    Here's a tip. Most picking will take place later in the day. This is from my own extensive observations. Pull up a chair and observe your flock for an hour during those later hours. Usually, it will happen as they relax with their BFFs, preening and socializing. There is usually a sound from the victim each time a feather gets yanked.

    Once you identify the culprit, you will need to decide how you want to address the problem. At the very least, you will probably want to separate the victim and the picker. There are so many reasons for feather picking, it can be hard to nail down the reason for your own picker doing it. But generally, it's a nutritional problem.

    I've got a serial feather picker, and I've tried everything to make her stop. Currently, she's in remission, and I believe it's because of the fermented feed the entire flock has been eating for the past month or more. You might want to visit the forum on Feeding and Watering your Flock to see what fermented feed is all about. It's certainly done wonders for my own flock.
     

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