Uh-oh, a Bully-O

Discussion in 'Behavior & Flock Management' started by Overmountain1, Nov 29, 2020.

  1. Overmountain1

    Overmountain1 Well-Known Member

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    Sooooo.... over the past week plus, we started seeing pretty fluffy SLW feathers accumulating in the run and coop. We knew someone must be getting picked on, and assumed our low chicken as usual, but she didn’t seem worse for wear. Well, by about two days ago it became apparent whose feathers they are....

    Moo is the girl we recently had the health scare again, probably egg related a second time. Working on that, and she has been fine in that regard. We think it must’ve been her being ill that prompted this, as it started around the same time. She’s pitiful looking though, and we have such a small flock, I would like your advice here.
    This picture set was Moo this afternoon, and she’s now acting depressed too- still eating drinking, but only stood on the bench quietly (as much as she was allowed by the others) today.

    In this flock is only our giant roo, Quack, and our 3 Silver laced Wyandotte’s. Neigh is top hen and the bully. Should I remove the bully for 1-2 nights to try to reset the hierarchy? [I do intend to try to find some other activities for them for the run, as I assume it is a factor at least.] Or do I remove the bullied hen, with or without our other hen. Oddly Moo still holds rank over her too, or so things appear. The roo sometimes steps between them but rarely intervenes in any real way we see, which is ok too.

    Here are a couple pics of her pitiful neck and head, and in the last one you can see the feathers allllll over the place, too....
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  2. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Are you absolutely certain she's not molting? I see what looks like a bunch of quills on her head and molting can make them feel puckish.
     

  3. Overmountain1

    Overmountain1 Well-Known Member

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    It could be... I won’t rule it out, I’m a newb here, but she does appear to be the o my one, and they’re all the exact same age, at 36 weeks. Thoughts? We did check her for parasites when we had her separate (cause why not) and didn’t see any evidence at the time. Idk!
     
  4. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    They don't all molt at the exact same time or the same amount. Sometimes it looks like a bird exploded, others it's so subtle you don't know they're molting unless you pick them up.
     
  5. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    I sort of don't want another bird to be punished if it was actually innocent.
     
  6. Overmountain1

    Overmountain1 Well-Known Member

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    Right. Welll, I will say she is NOT innocent. She is a bully, and a feather puller, that I have witnessed. She chases Moo all the time to pull or peck. And the other hen too. She doesn’t discriminate! Oink doesn’t peck anyone, but Moo will chase her sometimes too. They’re an odd bunch... so, I will say that a day in timeout wouldn’t be totally uncalled for even without the current questionable issue!
     
  7. Overmountain1

    Overmountain1 Well-Known Member

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    Oh- and that said, with the way her head is already covered with new feathers and seems to be working it’s way back- bc the missing ones under her chin did make me wonder wth- that she rly might be molting. I will keep watching her closely and see- that cold front is also coming thru here by tomorrow, so I don’t want her getting too cold. Think she will be ok? She can always go in the coop too, I guess.
     
  8. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    If you'd like to see some peace in the pen then certainly put the trouble maker in time out.
     
  9. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    She should be fine. If she was naked then I'd be worried about her staying warm but she has most of her body feathers.

    And yes some birds do molt so heavy they're almost naked.
     
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  10. Overmountain1

    Overmountain1 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Robin! I’ll continue to monitor progression all around- and potentially nab our Queen of Mean for a day in the bully pen. Hopefully most of this IS just a molt, and nobody is helping it along too much. Also, hopefully she won’t wind up like a ready to eat meal, and will retain some coverage throughout the molt! Not the best timing, chicken!
     
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  11. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    For some reason Fall early Winter is a common time for them to molt. Mine finally got around to molting in the warmer months.

    The first time I realized one of mine was molting I thought something got into the outside pen and slaughtered one of them. Evidently one decided to stand in one place in the outside pen and shed feathers into a pile in one spot.
     
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  12. Poultry Judge

    Poultry Judge Moderator Staff Member

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    Good luck, keep us posted. I'm dealing with a little bullying and molting right now also. None of mine molt at exactly the same time.
     
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  13. HSJ07

    HSJ07 Active Member

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  14. HSJ07

    HSJ07 Active Member

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    My chickens will be 14 weeks on Monday. I do not know how all the pecking order works but my barred rock who is so sweet and loving picks constantly on my golden comet. I have stopped her several times. Nothing works. My female Welsummer is the same with my Golden Laced Wyandotte. Yesterday this was going on and my rooster ran every one of them to the side of the run and stood in the middle of the run and crowed then walked around crowing at all of them. They were better after that. They started back today. Is this normal establishing pecking order or should I intervene?
     
  15. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Yep. If things get too rowdy, like drawing blood or keeping the others from food then steps to change things would be necessary.
     
  16. HSJ07

    HSJ07 Active Member

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  17. HSJ07

    HSJ07 Active Member

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    I have a large dog crate which I could put the two bullies in. If they get worse would you put the two bullies together? The Barred Rock has chosen the Golden Comet to torment and I don't know why. She is such a sweet loving chicken but so mean to the other chicken who is sweet and loving also. If I put the bully in a separate place, how long should she stay?
     
  18. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    How bad is it? It's very normal for them to have disputes. Messing with the flock before it's necessary creates even more issues.

    And a large dog crate is not big enough to stash a large fowl bird in for any amount of time.
     
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  19. HSJ07

    HSJ07 Active Member

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  20. HSJ07

    HSJ07 Active Member

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    I don’t know what to do as my poor little Comet is constantly bullied by my Barred Rock. She tries not to let her eat or drink. Poor little thing stays right under me when I am out there. I do make the barred Rock leave her alone when I am there but I am not always there. My Comet is terrified of her. She has even bothered her on the roost. What is so bad is that the barred rock is so sweet and loves me and I don't want to upset her.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021