Pecking order and feather loss

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chicksneedhelp, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. chicksneedhelp

    chicksneedhelp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 31, 2013
    I have 4 hens and a rooster who have been together almost 2 years. Last fall one hen started squawking most of the day, and the others chased and pecked her so she couldn't eat or drink. So I put her in a coop by herself and she is now feathered and looks good except for a pink comb that doesn't stand up.

    The dominant hen of the group is the rooster's favorite, and has not been able to regrow her feathers as a result. So today I switched them, putting the dominant hen in the single coop, and Henny Penny back with the others. Henny isn't too happy - the other hens have pecked her and the rooster has been overly attentive.

    I'm hoping Henny will get along well if I give her a little time, and that Missy #1 will regrow her feathers - she's not happy, either since she's alone.

    Does this sound like it will work out in the end? Do chickens work out their differences or should I expect Henny to always be a target? Will Missy #1 get her feathers back, or will she have to wait till after the next molt?

    Thanks for your thoughts!
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Flock Master

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    There are some solutions for your dilemma since you only have a few hens. There are these chicken aprons that you can put on your hens. Protects feathers from getting plucked.
    Missy will regrow her feathers before a molt.
    I once acquired a chicken from a BROKEN HOME.. I named her Chernobyl she was scrawny looking I do not have a rooster. Her feathers came back in and was a very pretty hen.
    Things may mellow out in your situation. You mention it started in the fall. Things like less free range opportunity, Shorter days, Possibly longer periods of confinement, All can bring out the worst in chicken behavior. Look to Spring and think positive. [​IMG]
    When your chickens will be busy scratching around looking for ????? in the ground, then there is less tendency for fighting.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I'd get rid of the rooster.....then work on getting your hens integrated back together.

    Putting Henny back with the flock probably got her butt kicked.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
  4. chicksneedhelp

    chicksneedhelp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 31, 2013
    Thanks for the info! Henny did have a hard day yesterday, but I kept her separated from the others most of both days, then let them get together at night. They seem to do fine when they roost, and I think they're doing better during the day but want to be sure Henny has food and water so separate them.

    Missy is gradually adjusting to being solo and I hope she can just relax and grow her feathers back!

    The roo actually helps the hens - when I first got this group of baby chicks, I couldn't get them to go up to the protected part of the coop at night. They'd stay in the lower part where the walls were wire, and it was cold or rainy, then some would die of hyperthermia. I would put them upstairs to bed and block the exit door only to find they'd knocked it down and gotten out. I got a few more, and presto, everyone went up to bed and stayed there. Then I discovered one of the new ones was my roo. He kind of saved their lives! And he's not aggressive, just protective.

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