YIKES! Beat up, Bald, Broody Silkie! Advice Please?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Laurajean, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    So this is my first year with chickens, and the whole broody thing is new to me. I had one of my Silkies trying to go broody, but I was able to gently take her eggs away, and she seemed to stop being broody. Then another Silkie, a Partridge colored one named Rachel decided to go broody. I had heard something about substituting golf balls, so I took her eggs and replaced them with golf balls, and every day I would go out to find her sitting on them. I noticed that she had pecked her chest clean, but I know that is to keep the "eggs" warm, so I didn't worry too much.

    Then today I went out to find her still in the nest, but totally bald on her head! Her big black poof head 'hair' is gone, all of it! She looks horrible! I took her newly laid egg and the golf balls away, and picked her up to check her out. When I set her down again, she went out into the run. As I was feeding them all I noticed that the others seemed to be picking on her.

    I have these questions:

    What's going on??

    Why are they picking on her all of a sudden?

    Why is her head totally bald?

    Will it grow back okay?

    Is there anything I should do?

    It's really alarming to see her this way, is this common? Any input would be really appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  2. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    I don't typically "bump", but this disappeared quickly and I'm really hoping for some input. Thanks!
     
  3. greenSearcher

    greenSearcher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 22, 2010
    Texoma
    Check and treat for mites if needed. She may have them from sitting in the nestbox as long as she has.
    Her feathers should grow back, I have bald girls from too much loving - they are such sorry looking things. They may wait until their next molt though.
    You might provide her an escape place, a small cage or box in the coop area she can run to when the others get to be too much. I suspect she has been hiding in the nest box, from your comment "removed the golf balls and the egg she laid". Broody hens quit laying until the chicks are a few weeks old. It appears that there has been a shake up of the pecking order, and she may have been bumped down. Is she the only silkie or bantam?
    If she is being bothered at the feeder/waterer try placing a second one in or near her hiding area.
    As I said, I think this is "politics" and not broodiness.
     
  4. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    Oklahoma
    My Coop
    I would say you have one in your flock that is plucking her bald. Try and find the culprit and get rid of it.

    I had the same problem, I had a Buff Orp in my lavender silkie pen and she scalped almost all of them!

    Don't worry it will grow back.
     
  5. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Quote:She's only been in the nest box daily for about a week or less. Would mites happen that soon? I suspect they're being plucked out by others, because as I said when she went out into the run I noticed a couple others pecking at her, which I've never seen them do.


    Quote:How long is that typically? (the next molt I mean)


    Quote:How would a cage or box be different than a nesting box? It would have to be open for her to go in and out, so couldn't they still get to her? Or is the idea to get something deeper that she can get deeper into to hide?

    Quote:No, they're all bantams, mostly silkies, except one RIR, who is not the culprit. She keeps to herself and is very docile. It was two of the bantams I saw peck at her.

    Quote:Well, I don't like these politics! Will this work itself out?
     
  6. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Quote:Get rid of the culprit!?! [​IMG] But they all get along very well, so far this is an isolated incident. You really think I should get rid of some? I noticed a couple were pecking at her, I think it will be hard to determine how many are doing it. But as I said, for the last year they've all gotten along great, so I don't want to just get rid of some, I love them! It's not like I have a large flock, I would be heart broken to part with any of them. There has to be a way to fix the problem, maybe as Greensearcher said, give her a place to hide? Or maybe it's a "phase" and they'll stop? Gee, I don't like the idea of getting rid of some because of this incident. I'm hoping it's an "incident" right now, and not a "habit". This is the first I've seen of anything like this with them.
     
  7. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    This is my best lavender hen before the incident. Maybe a good vitamin would help your girls. I started mine on Ultimate Vitamins from Foy's Pigeons and they are really good. They are laying like crazy now.

    [​IMG]

    This is her after, and I have 3 others that looked like this as well.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Quote:That could be a before and after of my Silkie too, except for the color! That's exactly what happened, big head poof one day, bald the next. I still can't bear the thought of getting rid of any though. Is that what you did, get rid of the ones who did it?
     
  9. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:That could be a before and after of my Silkie too, except for the color! That's exactly what happened, big head poof one day, bald the next. I still can't bear the thought of getting rid of any though. Is that what you did, get rid of the ones who did it?

    Yes, she was rehomed with chickens of her own breed. I can't justify keeping one that makes a beautiful silkie look sooooo ugly! But, if the plucker is also a silkie, then it will be hard to rehome her to someone that raises silkies.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2011
  10. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Quote:That could be a before and after of my Silkie too, except for the color! That's exactly what happened, big head poof one day, bald the next. I still can't bear the thought of getting rid of any though. Is that what you did, get rid of the ones who did it?

    Yes, she was rehomed with chickens of her own breed. I can't justify keeping one that makes a beautiful silkie look sooooo ugly! But, if the plucker is also a silkie, then it will be hard to rehome her to someone that raises silkies.

    Yeah, the pluckers are also Silkies who I love and don't want to rehome! [​IMG]

    I still ask, couldn't this be an isolated incident? A fight over eggs, or just some other 'chicken spat'? It's never happened in the past, so I can't help but to wonder if it's just a "thing" that happened and may not continue. I don't want to jump the gun here and go get rid of my precious pets just because they had a bad week, you know? I still think her being broody has something to do with it. She was definitely wanting to sit on those eggs and not budge. Then days later, her hair gets picked out. Maybe one of them wanted her nest spot and she was being stubborn or something? It's just confusing, because they all get along so well normally, this is a first.
     

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