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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:32 am 
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Hi, I've had 5 chooks for almost 2 months and the bottom of the pecking order (a Cochin) keeps getting a bare patch on her back from her feathers being pecked out. Just when the pin feathers have come through and the feathers are growing back, it happens again. Today it happened for the third time and it's very upsetting. I'm pretty sure who the culprit is, she's a Wyandotte, either 2nd or 3rd in the pecking order. I think it happens when the Wyandotte is trying to stop the Cochin from getting in the nesting box. I've got 3 nest boxes in the chook house but the top chooks won't let other chooks in another nest box if they are in one. They free range in the backyard during the day. The Cochin doesn't have any cuts/bleeding, just bare skin. Should I separate one of them from the others until the feathers grow back completely, and if so, the bully or the victim? Should I set up another nesting box somewhere else in the garden? Anything else I can do? Thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:20 am 
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Hi Plucky and welcome to the forum.

This should hopefully be quite easy to fix. Buy a bottle of blue food dye from the supermarket and paint the bald spot and surrounding feathers blue. Chooks are attracted to red (blood) and raw skin. They are generally not attracted to blue. This should protect her from the other chooks developing a plucking habit. Most chooks are beginning to moult at this time of the year so feathers are loose or just regrowing. It is the worst time for a plucking habit to start.
I would remove the aggressor/s for about a week if possible. The pecking order dynamics will change and when she/they returns (only one at a time - not as a gang) the focus should not be on just one bird.
Don't take the victim out unless she is badly injured as she will return as the newbie/victim.
You have plenty of nesting boxes. It doesn't matter how many you have, they will still all prefer the same one. :laughing


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:25 pm 
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Thanks Sue55, much appreciated! Just a question about separating the bully. Do I need to provide her with her own nest box and sleeping area when I separate her? I have some removable fencing so I can easily give her a separate area of the garden during the day.

Thanks also for mentioning that moulting starts around now. I have noticed quite a few feathers around in the past few days.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:15 pm 
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Yes preferably separate her completely. (or at least during daylight). The idea is that she is re introduced into territory that she has lost claim to and re enters at the bottom of the pecking order. I have a collection of dog kennels from the tip shop which are ideal for temporary accommodation. You can put in a low perch and some nesting material at the back. Just be sure that she is safe from foxes


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:50 pm 
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Great, thanks so much :)


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