Hello all, This has been a problem long in the making. Background: Last year, I had an accidental rooster (1 roo to my 7 hens). He ended up being aggressively amorous, so to speak, and was harming the backs on my hens. I tried to give him a chance to mature to see what sort of roo he would end up being, and so I purchased saddles/hen protectors for my girls. The saddles were robust against stompy rooster feet, and did protect their skin. Sadly, though, the abrasion from the saddles rubbed all of the feathers off of my hens underneath the saddle. Because the feathers were broken off at the skin level, the feather follicles still held the tip of the feather shaft, and would not re-grow until molted out. I re-homed the rooster, as he became more vigorous with the hens instead of mellowing out when he matured. However, all of my hens-- every one of them-- developed a learned bad behavior from one another. I had one hen that would always pick at the others, and for her trouble she earned a set of pinless peepers. The picking stopped from her, but the others all saw her eating the pinfeathers off of one another's backs. They associated this behavior with getting a small, delicious treat. The hens all learned that these feathers contained blood, a good meal for any omnivore like a chicken. My hens have never pulled full feathers from one another to eat-- they only do this with blood-filled pinfeathers (some people call these wax feathers or blood feathers-- same thing). So, my girls have not grown back their feathers, because each time they got pinfeathers someone else would eat them! Ordinary this wouldn't be a problem. When a chicken molts, the new pins are mixed in with old feathers, and do not stand out against a blaze of bare skin. In fact, when they molt, the new feathers are ignored on all parts of my molting hens, OTHER than the bare backs, because they are hidden amongst the other feathers. Only the pinfeathes on their bare backs, that stand out, are eaten. One of my hens had health problems, and I had to keep her indoors for a while. In this time she re-grew all her feathers (as there was no one else around to pick them). She looks great and no one attempts to pick her. One hen I had to use a 'broody buster' on for two weeks and she grew her feathers back in, too. She also looks great. I would temporarily use peepers on everyone, but some of my hens have combs so big and so forward that they cannot wear them. The peepers physically cannot go on unless I cut into their combs, which I will not do. I cannot isolate the pickers from the bald hens-- each bird does it to the others. I'd need 7 separate pens. My birds are not overcrowded-- there are 7 hens, their run is over 400 square feet now that I've expanded it, they have a large coop, and experience free range daily. I actually give them enrichment to keep them busy when I am not able to range them, such as a chicken garden and hung cabbages for foraging. They also have correct nutrition. I feed countryside organics feed, plus whatever they get on range. I've even had bloodwork done by an avian vet and they are not nutritionally deficient-- I really think this is just a learned behavior. Possible solution: I am considering making them very soft saddles out of fleece... enough to hide the bare backs and pinfeathers from the other hens, but soft enough not to cause abrasion or chafing of the new feathers. What do you think?