pecking each other bad and eating the feathers?!

Hens in Merrimack

8 Years
Mar 8, 2011
I am sure there are tons of posts on this, but I am afraid by the time I read all of them my ladies will be bald!!!!

I am new to this and have only had these year old birds for 2 days. They came to me with some bald patches. I hoped that a less stressful environment would change that....
After having a little more time to watch them today, they just seem to pick at each other for no reason?! Then the proceed to eat the feathers? Is this normal? and what should I do?
Thanks for the help!!!


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
South Georgia
Too little space and too little protein are the usual causes. There are linked threads on the FAQ page about this.

7L Farm

9 Years
Jul 22, 2010
Anderson, Texas
I've been dealing with this problem forever. I'm constantly watching these threads for an answer. I've tried everything in the book.I have no idea why they do it. I free range all day everyday so its not space. I give them plenty of protein so I know their good there. I've tried pinless peepers. Its a bad habit & very hard to break is all I know if you find the answer please let me know.


9 Years
Mar 27, 2010
Yorktown, Virginia
I have read it all, too little space, mites, lack of protein, you name it, but in my book, it is plain ol bullying! I notice it is one, maybe two hens that harass the others. It seems to occur alot when I am present as if they are biding for my attention. I have one little girl who I can see her pink skin through her thinned feathers. I also see it occur simply when they want a dustbathing spot, when they want whatever the other is pecking, etc....

I it meaness. I have eight hens in a 25x25 run with a big coop and extra roosts. I give mine lots of cabbage and a flock block to help deter the plucking.

I don't think chickens think too much any of their bedfellows. They are out for themselves.

key west chick

11 Years
May 31, 2008
Gainesville, GA
I have a tiny serama hen that plucks everybody, including the Border Collie. She will follow another chicken around the yard, picking at them. When the dog lays down and watches the chickens, Nez goes and picks threw the dogs hair. Just little pick picks with her beak. They free range so its not lack of space either. Shes just neurotic I guess.

The Chicken People

10 Years
May 4, 2009
Smithville, Mo
I have had the same problem. Personally, I believe my problem to be that the weather has been so bad and they have been cooped up to long! I give extra oyster shell and dry cat food! Hoping my frizzle gets some frizz back!


9 Years
Aug 8, 2010
Oakland county ,MI
I have come to the conclusion that it must be a habbit they pick up at a young age ( when over crowding is an issue ) and it stays with them forever. When I first got my chickens from my friend
(we got 10 12week old pullets ) they were all missing tail feathers. Two of them didnt have any at all. Being new to the chicken world I just assumed they would regrow them in a few weeks. Well its been almost a year and no feathers have grown back ..
my friend said they were over crowded as chicks and should stop picking at eachother once they had lots of room and were able to free range. The 2 RIR's did get their tails and look nice now. My EE has not 1 feather on her fanny
and the others, well they look like they are molting ALL THE TIME...

Now, I have a few new chickens from some breeders on BYC and those chickens dont pick at anyone, and none are they missing any feathers ( I keep them seperated in case )
My opinion is hatchery chickens do it more often . Im not sure why. I do see the others doing it ALL the time. The biggest offenders are going to freezer camp this spring. Im all done with the feather eating... constant chasing and bickering because the GLW's pick everyones feathers to the point of bleeding bums ..

My best advise would be either live with the featherless chickens or get new ones who dont have the habbit. I have done everything ( even clipped the beaks ) and nothing works.
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