Pecking vs. molting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by curliegirlie89, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. curliegirlie89

    curliegirlie89 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2016
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    I am new to raising chickens. Our first flock is not quite a year old (hatched about early March 2016). We have 4 Buff Orpington hens, 2 RIR hens, and 1Silky rooster. Things have been great so far. We have a nice 4x8 coop/run but we also let them free range for about an hour a day. After Christmas, we went out of town for about a week and I don't think our house sitter let them out nearly as much as we did. That's when we noticed one of the Buffs was missing a patch of feathers on her back. So, we been making an effort to let them out every day in spite of the significant drop in temperatures and it's nearly sundown by the time we get home from work. Today I noticed a 2nd Buff is starting to get the same bear spot on her back. So, is this the beginning of molting or do we have a board bully? I've attached pictures below of the 1st one to loose her feathers for reference.

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    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
  2. Mak24456

    Mak24456 Out Of The Brooder

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    When you say 4x8 coop/run what do you mean? I'm having a hard time picturing it [​IMG]
     
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Someone in the flock is feather plucking/eating.
     
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  4. curliegirlie89

    curliegirlie89 Out Of The Brooder

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    The total size is 4x8. It has an enclosed raised coop that's about 4x4 with 2 external nesting boxes. The space under the coop and the other 4 feet are an enclosed run. So, they have a 4x8 run with a coop above part of that. I hope that make sense. It too dark to take a picture right now.
     
  5. curliegirlie89

    curliegirlie89 Out Of The Brooder

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    That's what I'm afraid of.
     
  6. Mak24456

    Mak24456 Out Of The Brooder

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    A 4x4 coop and 4x8 run seems small for 7 chickens. That's probably your problem, especially since they only get let out for an hour.
    A good guideline commonly used here is at least 4 sq ft per chicken in the coop and 10 sq feet per chicken in the run.
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    You said you have a silkie rooster. To me it looks like possibly the wear pattern from a bantam rooster breeding hens too much, is she his favorite? Does your rooster mate a lot?
     
  8. curliegirlie89

    curliegirlie89 Out Of The Brooder

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    Interesting because it's supposed to be built for up to 8 chickens and we have 7.
     
  9. curliegirlie89

    curliegirlie89 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2016
    Seneca, SC

    Possibly. She is the smallest hen we have (not sure why she's small), which is why I'm worried about a bully among the flock. But I haven't witnessed any aggression among them. So, maybe because the Silky is a bantam breed, he prefers the smaller hen.
     
  10. Mak24456

    Mak24456 Out Of The Brooder

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    A lot of the time premade/coop kits overestimate how many chickens they can house. Smaller spaces encourage aggression and pecking out of boredom. The mating issue is also quite possible.
     
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