First I just want to say I've learned so much from this forum! So thank you for that! I feel I have already gained a lot from various posts/threads I've browsed here, which is why I'm a little baffled by what I came across this evening with one of the girls in my flock! BACKGROUND: As I have previously mentioned around here, I have 4 Pekin girls total, though for awhile we thought 1 might have been a boy. We ordered 4 girls from Metzer's in the spring, my husband picked them up himself. Sophia was always distinguishable; smaller and with an odd colored beak from the start; at first we were scared she might not make it, but she's a tough one and has hung on. Dorothy was the biggest and smartest, always the first to figure anything out. Blanche was the pretty one and Rose the loudest and silliest! Yes, they fit their namesakes perfectly We hand raised them, tried our best to keep them happy, healthy and as sociable as possible, and so far everything has gone swimmingly! DILEMMA: Nowadays at 6 Mo's, we've started getting eggs regularly. 2 most days, 3 occasionally and we had one big day that totaled out at 5 eggs, though 2 were soft shelled. We've eaten all but a few eggs that broke or were too underdeveloped. None have been fertilized. So this evening when I went out to tuck the girls in for the night, I was really alarmed to see Dorothy is missing quite a few feathers at the base of her neck, sort of back between her wings/shoulder blades: Is this normal? Am I wrong to be alarmed by this? Could she be beginning to molt, or are the others in the flock picking on her? Everyone seemed well and good, they were all just pruning when I took the photos. At first I thought, "oh no, Sophia is a dude after all and he must be mounting Dorothy now!" But I honestly have not seen it! Sophia is still smaller than the others, has no drake feather and does indeed quack- so I had written off her differences to bad genes. Also, when I've read that the Drake controls the hen by biting at her neck, I imagined it higher up on the actual neck. Like when a machismo dude steers his chick around the mall with his hand at the base of her skull, you know? I will say, Dorothy is no longer the biggest, and Rose and Blanche are the better layers, so could they just be giving her a hard time? I have seen them all pick at this spot a few times, but nobody ever gets too perturbed. I have also noticed, when all four of them get into the pool together and space gets tight, they do "play mate" a bit. Usually Dorothy or Blanche will assume the whole "mate me" position and Rose will climb on top, but she literally just stands there and quacks about it. And I know Rose is a girl because she has the light tip and spots on her beak from laying. So what could possibly be going on here? Am I wrong to worry? Most importantly, do I need to intervene? If I do indeed have a drake, then I should still be okay with a 3:1 ratio, right? Sorry for the super long post!