What is happening here?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by a1doll, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. a1doll

    a1doll Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 14, 2011
    I am brand new to the forum. My 12 year old son got 12 red pullets from the local tractor supply this may. They are locked up at dark every night otherwise they are free range. One was killed 2 weeks ago by a predator so now we are down to 11. Today i came home to find lots of feathers in an area under 2 pine trees where the chickens like to hang out. Could they be molting or maybe attached by something? They are only 6 months old. I am also wondering if we should get a rooster. A freind of mine said a rooster would protect the hens but then I heard from someone else the rooster may pick on the hens! UGH! Not sure what to do! I would appreciate some advice. Thanks![​IMG]
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    It's hard to say. Are there any signs of injury to any of your birds? Are the feathers scattered around, or in smaller piles? Did this happen in just one day, or over a period of days?

    The rooster is a decision that only you can make. There are pros and cons to both sides of that.
  3. Little One

    Little One Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2011
    SE Virginia
    Chickens shouldn't be molting their first winter. Were you able to tell if they came off a certain hen, such as one that could be getting picked on by the others? Depending on where you live there are many possibilities as far as predators... including neighbors dogs. My cockerel has been a good and gentle caretaker for his hens (though, sometimes during mating he gets a little carried away with himself). In my experience, having a rooster is great, but I think it all depends on if you luck out and get a guy that isn't people aggressive. At this point, you could look into finding an adult roo, or at least the same age as your pullets.
  4. dakotasnake

    dakotasnake Out Of The Brooder

    May 21, 2008
    i started out with 10 roosters and slowly gave away or sold the aggressive ones. i have to left and there very freindly birds [ eat out of your hand ect. ] and take good care of there ladies. they heard them in at nite and watch for danger while the girls are scrathing around during the day. i even seen them go after hawks b4 that were after the hens.
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:I have two roos as well and they take wonderful care of their 12 ladies (shared). They are always on lookout, and make a warning call if they see something suspicious flying overhead, and they warn when a neighbourhood cat walks by. The girls usually chase off the cats [​IMG] If they make any sort of commotion outdoors, my dogs hear it and warn me with persistent barking.

    If you only have 11 girls left, I would only get one roo, but you could manage with two (I do!). They actually stop the girls from picking on each other. Have seen it on a daily basis when my head hen is overly rude to the others. Steve, my silkie roo, will chase Denny off. No feathers have ever been missing due to our roos, but there are certain saddle aprons to help with that.

    [​IMG] My fiancĂ©e just called me on the phone while I was writing this to tell me my roo was chasing the hens around and making a scene [​IMG]
  6. chickened

    chickened Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 2, 2010
    western Oregon
    I would do a head count and look over the hens for injuries and lock them up for a week or so to discourage the predator to look else where or check out the predator posts for some ideas on dealing with the chicken killer.

    Chickens molt gradually not all in one spot like under the tree. The feathers you found could be from a dusting area.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
  7. so lucky

    so lucky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 31, 2011
    SE Missouri
    If you don't have small children at home, or who regularly visit, then a roo would be good to protect and keep down squabbles among the flock (if that is an issue). If you are prepared to cull him if he turns out to be obnoxious or too aggressive, then you don't have much to lose. I, too, would suggest getting one at least as old as your girls, maybe a little older, so he will be past the onery teenage phase. Eleven hens to one rooster would be a good ratio; less possibility of the girls getting abused from over mating. And, you could raise some chicks next spring! [​IMG]
  8. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:My roos don't mind the neighbourhood kids, but this can be a concern for more aggressive roos.
  9. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    They don't have a full blown molt until they're over a year old but they do have minor molts as they grow, the last being around 6 months. If more than one is doing it, then it'll look like tons of feathers around.
  10. BlazeJester

    BlazeJester Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2011
    Midway, GA
    Mine have been cycling through juvenile molts for the past month and it looks like there should be dead chickens everywhere (they're contained whereas my last flock free ranged and apparently hid the damage). With 8 pullets, the dust bath is strewn with feathers.

    Hopefully that is all that's happening. I've heard they can stress molt, so if they were startled by the predator when the other was killed that could be the case.


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