MOLTING ATTACK! HELP- Now there is blood! what to do??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chick4chix, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. chick4chix

    chick4chix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My normally peaceful flock of 5 chickens have been exceptionally quiet during this, their first molt- then this morning we were awakened by a ruckous so loud we thought a predator had gotten up in the top of the ark with them. My DH ran out first to let down the ladder and only one hen came down - the GLW (who is second from top of the pecking order) while the noise was still intense in the top, he quickly opened one of the nest boxes to peer upstairs and our SLW flew out- (the one at the top of the pecking order) then the rest of the girls came down the ladder. Then Halo- an EE who is usually second to last or last in the pecking order- we can never tell- "stalked" and cornered Lacy the SLW and attacked her! She then chased her back up into the top of the ark and attacked her up there.
    They are in a catawba style ark and have a nice sized run attached to it with straw, roosting logs, a flock block and dusting bath. I have given them treats today to "distract" her, but Halo (who is no angel today) is just hell-bent on attacking Lacy who wants nothing more than to hide from her. No one else is doing this.
    Halo lost a lot of her feathers last week- but the only way I knew this was seeing them everywhere- she never exhibited baldness- Lacy on the other hand, lost most of her feathers last week and looks like an almost bald pin cushion.

    My questions are this: Should I isolate Halo (the mean one) with her own food and water in the ark- while keeping the rest of the flock in the run with their own food and water for today- while Halo is being mean? Is this normal behavior for one of them to attack her previous superior during a molt when when they are normally very peaceful and friendly and know their place in the order? Is it unusual for the bottom hen to bbe attacking the top hen? Is this because the top hen looks so bad and small because of her feathers? Only one other hen lost her feathers this badly two weeks ago (another EE) and she just kept to herself while they were growing back and no one really bothered her- she sort of stayed "under the radar" - she is second to last on the bottom.

    Sorry this is so long, but it's upsetting to see such a violent-loud attack on the top hen who rules the roost with grace and peace. They have been together since hatch and always peaceful and friendly. Thankfully, there is no blood that I can see- at least not yet. Another thing that may be of note- it's particularly hot here today- although they have plenty of shade and places to hide under the trees.

    Thank you in advance for any advice and thoughts you all have on this - I LOVE this forum!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  2. chick4chix

    chick4chix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh... I forgot to mention- I have "upped" their protein during this molt with lots of Boss, worms from my worm bins and I sprout wheat grass for them- they get all the leavings from my organic vegetable beds- etc.
     
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    They get very grouchy during a molt sometimes. They feel stressed and prickly. One of mine had a complete personality change, turning from a sweet, very friendly girl to a crazed lunatic that screamed and ran away if I even said her name or looked in her direction. She has since been broody, raised chicks and is laying again and my sweet girl has returned.
     
  4. chick4chix

    chick4chix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks speckledhen- will they go back to their previous pecking order when the molt is over? Its so strange to see the "top hen" being attacked.
     
  5. ihvpower

    ihvpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just how long does the moult last???
     
  6. chick4chix

    chick4chix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ihvpower- I'm not sure- I've read it depends on the birds, their conditions, what time of year they hatched etc. I have one EE who lost all her feathers at once about a month ago and she is now looking good- her feathers are not all the way in as far as length of tail and wings are concerned but they are there- she has not commenced laying yet though. I have another EE who started molting two months ago and she still looks rough- all my birds have stopped laying but one- a GLW who has not molted yet but her egg production has gone down to about 3 a week.
    Anyone else on here with more experience and knowledge of molting?
     
  7. chick4chix

    chick4chix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Now she has drawn blood! I just closed the mean hen in the ark by herself an the others are all in the outdoor run with food and water- mean hen has food and water in ark. What should I do about the blood? It's on the top of her beak- I can't tell if it's her comb or the beak itself?
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  8. ihvpower

    ihvpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chick4chix,

    Thank you :)
     
  9. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    from what it sounds like you have a very hormonal hen, I'm new at this too, but my guess is like speckled hen said, it will calm down after the molt you might find a new pecking order though. gl hope they settle down.
     
  10. GoldenCometLover

    GoldenCometLover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi - I'm pretty new to chickens, and learnign as much as I can as fast as I can, but have no clue on molting...my girls are about 20ish weeks old, when do they start molting and do they usually get hormonal and pick on each other?? I don't want them to be bald when the snow flies!?![​IMG]
     

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