Pecking feathers from the other hens

JayniDean

Hatching
8 Years
Feb 28, 2011
2
0
7
I have 4 white silkie bantam cross hens that are about 8 yrs old & 4 aysa browns from point of lay that are 2 yrs old.. They have lived together for 2 yrs with me now.The old whites lay well considering their age & breed... They may well be in moult as there have been no white eggs for over a week.

The last couple of days it is as if a pillow has been burst in their area, white feathers everywhere... & a few of the white girls have had their feathers pecked out on the backs of their necks & some on the front....
I let the white girls choose where to sleep last night & 3 went high in the hedges, one went in on her perch with the 4 brown younger ones in secure area.
Poor Connie hen (who was in with the 4 browns) is almost bald today, most distressing & wonder if anyone can offer a) an explaination why after 2 yrs they are fighting/picking on the older hens like this & b) any suggestions to stop this behaviour.
Thank you... Jaynidean
 

ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
644
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
Well feather picking can be a need for more protein. If it were me, I'd give them some very high protein snacks like scrambled eggs from the store (cheap).

Molt can look very bad too. I am hoping it is just molt. But it sounded very sudden and extreme.
 

JayniDean

Hatching
8 Years
Feb 28, 2011
2
0
7
Thank you for your responses.
It seems to have stopped now, although there are still heaps of feathers all over the yard.
Although the worst victim is still a bit bald on the back of her neck.
A friend sent me an article about this behaviour.
 

Lollipop

Songster
10 Years
Feb 12, 2009
3,107
72
244
Pike Co., GA & Palm Beach Co., FL
Quote:If the feathers are all over the yard, you hafta be looking at a molt. If the others were picking feathers, they would eat them. Molts sometimes are sudden and some birds drop most of their feathers seemingly overnight. Other birds molt so slowly that you can hardly tell it. If it were low protein, then feather picking would be accompanied by feather swallowing. Molting is very stressfull for fowl. But don`t worry.........Pop
 

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