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What to do about single hen being overbred or bullied

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by furbabymum, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. furbabymum

    furbabymum Songster

    May 6, 2012
    Burns, Wyoming
    I'm not sure which it is to be honest. I have 2 roosters and 20 hens. A few of my older hens are always mounting each other to establish dominance, etc. I go out to see my birds every evening and when I went out yesterday a hen that had never been bothered before was lacking all of her head and back feathers. I've no idea what happened but I want to stop it immediately. What do I do???

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Are you sure the other chickens did that? Could it be some type of predator that attacked her and she got away? Have you closely looked for claw, tooth, or talon injuries? For something that drastic to happen that quickly doesn’t sound right if it is caused by the other chickens.

    I don’t know how bad that hen really is. If she is injured or if she is stripped as bare as you say, you might want to isolate her for a few days so the others can’t get to her. Give her time to recover and things to settle down. It will take a while for the feathers to grow back. If the shaft came out she will grow new feathers in a few weeks. If the feather broke and some shaft is still in there, she will not grow the feathers back until she molts.

    Some hens have brittle feathers. It’s hereditary. They break so easily that a rooster mounting the hen using proper technique can cause bare spots.

    It is the time of year for a molt. That does not sound like a typical molting pattern but it might be a big part of what is going on.

    I don’t know what is going on. Even if you posted a picture it could be real hard to determine.
  3. furbabymum

    furbabymum Songster

    May 6, 2012
    Burns, Wyoming
    I am not positive the other chickens did it as I didn't witness it but it looks like chicken caused wear and tear to me. My older hens who do bully each other have some mild wear and tear on their backs and heads. This looks like a severe version of that. The shafts weren't ripped out but all the feathers were stripped. It looks terrible. I sprayed her with Red Kote and came here for advice! I've never had this issue before.
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    How big is your coop, how big is your run? Do you have places in both coop and run where a bullied hen can go to get out of line of sight of the bullies? Do they get out to free range?
  5. furbabymum

    furbabymum Songster

    May 6, 2012
    Burns, Wyoming
    My coop is a horse barn with tack shed. I'm not exactly sure how large but I'd estimate it to be 30'x40'. The run is about 1/4 an acre and we leave the gate open so they can free range on 40 acres though they probably never roam more than 3.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    If it's that sudden, I'd be thinking a molt. If she's around the 18 month mark, with a pale comb, that's probably what it is.
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I had one white hen, and when she molted, she practically lost all of her feathers at once, and the ones she had left, looked like hell. She look terrible, but they grew back super fast! She molted hard and fast.

    Mrs K

  8. Free Feather

    Free Feather Songster

    I highly doubt it was a rooster with a ratio that large. I would say molting, but Ridgerunner makes a good point.

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