Molting or Bullying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jeningilroy, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. jeningilroy

    jeningilroy Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 28, 2015
    Hi there BYC :)

    This is my first flock and it's been one year since I've had my six adorable hens.

    My youngest hen, Hunny (an Americauna) has lost a significant about of feathers all over. At first I thought she was molting, still unsure, but why just one hen? And not all of them? Then I noticed 4 out of my six hens, including "Hunny" have been picking on her. Pecking her in the butt, and I've seen them peck her on the neck. A constant little scolding. The poor thing is scared to death to get near any of them, and now I see her off on her own. It's so heartbreaking. Now I'm thinking perhaps she's losing her feathers because she is stressed.

    But why now? Why all of sudden are they picking on her? They've been a very cohesive flock for some time. No doubt she's low gal on the totem pole, but never this obvious and constant pecking at her.

    Could it be just she started to molt, then the bullying started?

    What should I do?

    I'm worried, she's going to get so stressed that she may die.

    Thank you,

    Jennifer
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    She is molting. They all start at different times. I would recommend switching to a higher protein feed and add some high protein snacks. The picking could be curiosity or a protein deficiency.
     
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  3. jeningilroy

    jeningilroy Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 28, 2015
    I already bought some pellets for hens losing feathers, and she gets meal worms and oyster shells.

    But how do I deal with the rest of the entire flock pecking at her?
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    central Wisconsin
    Many hens will hide during the molt, it's common too for them to be picked on as they often don't feel well and can act a bit hysterical at times. As long as no blood is being drawn I would leave them alone, if blood is being drawn you might have to separate her out but still within the coop, otherwise I would leave them be and make sure they have things to keep them busy so they aren't focusing on the one hen, and are burning off energy so they don't have the time to pick on her.
     
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  5. BurntFeather

    BurntFeather Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 7, 2015
    Newly emerging feathers have a vein filled shaft/quill which will bleed if cut or injured. These pin feathers are very sensitive and chickens generally prefer not to be handled or group while molting. It may be why she keeps to herself. I am not expert but the poor lady should pull through okay and her companions a bit more friendly once her feathers grow in. Good luck!
     

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