My flock will be a year old in May and we've always kept them in a very secure run. They have quite a bit of room: coop is 12 x 14, and run 12 x 24, for 16 hens and one rooster. This month (March) we noticed much of the flock was losing feathers at the base of their back and discovered our leghorn was picking feathers. Soon, we had a couple of hens with tiny bald spots. We tried pinless peepers on the leghorn, and another hen ripped them off of her. This morning, I noticed one of the hens with a bald spot had a tiny red spot. She is very low on the pecking order and another hen (who isn't normally a feather-picker) was chasing after her. I went in to get the blu-kote, and by then several hens were after her in a frenzied blood-lust. The blu-kote helped, although I had to apply it three times today. She still got pecked, but just occasionally and without real damage. This evening, I saw several hens pulling feathers from each other. The picking behavior seems to be spreading like wildfire. I tried increasing protein and giving lots of sunflower seed, but it's only been a week or so since I started this. They also have a flock block, and we tried a cabbage, but it only lasted a couple of hours. In looking for a solution, I came across a long thread which concluded that free-ranging would likely end this behavior. I'd love to free range. We do have tons of hawks in the summer, and there is a neighbor with a dog that sometimes is loose, - not all the time, it is very unpredictable, but he has circled the run, showing interest. I am so discouraged by the hens ganging up on this one chicken. She has a severe cross-beak and lays a beautiful blue egg. I'm starting to think I would rather lose some hens to a predator than watch them cannibalize. Should I let them free-range tomorrow? I don't think they will go very far, as there are snow barriers around. My big hesitation (other than predators): I'm afraid once they free-range, they will never tolerate being confined to a run, plus, we'll have to fence our large garden once the snow goes. Do you think free-ranging will stop this obsessive picking? I appreciate any advice!