My chickens turned a year old this past August. During the winter months, I noticed one of my chickens lost a lot of vent feathers, all the feathers around her bottom and part way up her back and then had an open sore under one of its wings. The sore eventually healed, but she never grew back her feathers. I noticed that my head chicken, Lola, has a habit of plucking the other chicken's vent feathers and then she eats them. She has also started to pluck the other feathers off the backs of the chickens that are molting. Now that winter is around the corner, I am afraid some of the chickens won't have time to re-grow their feathers and will not survive the cold. I have trying spraying an anti-pick solution on the chickens, but when there are no feathers to stick to, it's not helping much. Can you please let me know what I should do to prevent this from continuing? Should I keep Lola separated from the rest of the flock until their feathers re-grow? Does she need something nutritionally that she isn't getting? Is it boredom?
Harmful Eating Not SoughtDear HENS, Feather picking can be so frustrating! You have my sympathies, and so do your hens! Unfortunately, there is no ONE cause of feather picking. Feather picking can be caused by a number of things, so it won't be possible for me to give you a definitive answer as to what is causing the problem in Lola. That said, we can go through the possibilities, and hopefully you'll be able to narrow it down from there.