Overwhelmed and Upset


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 29, 2013
My just posting this to get out some of my frustrations and hope for some advice and encouragement.

My 11 hens (ages 1-2 years old) aren't laying at all like they should and the ones that are don't lay in the coop....it's an Easter egg hunt every day around my yard. I get 3 eggs in the coop nests every day from 11 hens.

3 hens lost a lot of feathers on their back near their tail - I may have a feather pecker in my flock. They are not molting and I don't see parasites.We had to "get rid of" 2 of our 3 roosters 2 weeks ago because of their aggressiveness. I thought the lack of feathers was aggressive rooster marks from mounting.....but had the roosters isolated for a couple weeks prior to relieve the stress to my hens and no feather improvement.

One hen is broody and when she gets up, other hens (at least 1 hen) immediately go in her nest and lay their eggs in there or mess with her eggs (that we have marked). One of the marked eggs disappeared yesterday. Could she have eaten it? That leaves 9 eggs that the broody hen is laying on.

I open the coop door every morning and let them free range and they go in at night and roost. Their run is small and not adequate enough for the amount of birds I have - 12. We have 6 nesting boxes on one side of the coop and 4 on the other in their nice, clean coop.

I tried to confine them to their coop for a few days...which did work a bit because I got 6 eggs on day 3...but it stresses them out because the run is small.

I could put the 3 hens that have feather loss in the isolation pen for a while to see if there's a random picker amongst the group...but what about the broody hen then ? I shouldn't move her and her eggs and put her in there too, right? I don't want the other hens messing with her and her nest.

What do I do?

Side note: I plan on expanding the run a lot and adding a small barn with a couple goats. Will that stress them?



7 Years
Mar 1, 2015
Your frusteration is understandable.
I'm having identical problems with my flock too. 2 hens featherless on their saddle, one broody that keeps getting replaced on her nest, small run and coop, and angry roosters.
Getting rid of 2 roosters was a good choice for you; we got rid of 5 but the hens are still barebacked. Isolation is a good idea for your naked girls, sadly I can't do that because of lack of proper space.
With your broody, could you lock the others out during the days? Or put a piece of wood in front of her box's opening, and let her out occasionally.
What about saddles/aprons for your bare ladies? I haven't tried that so if you do, tell me how it goes, please.
Are your ladies getting adequate amounts of food and calcium? I don't give mine grit, but pecking in dirt should do that. I have 11 laying hens and 2 laying ducks, and I get 7-10 eggs daily.
Know that you're not the only one with those problems! I feel ya!


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Well, inadequate housing and too many males are 2 real problems that you're dealing with......but it will take time.
Expand run asap so you can confine them for nest training.

Broody should be isolated but in sight of flock, maybe you need to split and/or expand coop also.....
.....especially if you plan on adding more birds in the future, it's always good to have a couple separate enclosures.

Feathers won't come back until they molt...whomever is picking likely doesn't have a bare back.

What and how are you feeding them?
Feather eating can be a lack of protein, specifically animal protein.

I would suggest not getting goats until you have your chicken housing under control......
.....and make sure your have your goat housing (and fencing especially) absolutely complete and secure before bringing the animals home.
If you think inadequately housed chickens are a problem......goats can be 10 times worse.


7 Years
Oct 20, 2014
10 nesting boxes, and 11 hens ... I'd also get rid of 6 nesting boxes ... Besides increasing their run, and looking into their diet.


Apr 25, 2015
Santa Paula, CA
We have 4 hens and 3 nesting boxes but they all insist on using the same one. We just had a successful Broody hatch 5 of 11 eggs, but we built a 'maternity ward' cage around her to keep the other hens from messing with her.

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