And you thought you were having a bad hair day? Take a look at poor Sweet Pea here. While Bob was still in the coop Blackbeard felt the need to display his dominance by doing the wild thing with Sweet Pea every couple of hours. Yep, every couple of HOURS. You see why Bob now lives elsewhere.
And while Blackbeard treats his ladies well and has a dapper, Johnny Depp quality about him, he lacks some finesse in the romance area when he has an audience. The fact that he grips the feathers on the back of the hen's head with his beak in order to prevent being thrown off by another rooster is not preferred by hens 9 out of ten times. Then poor little Sweet Pea here got thrown in with Old Jack and well, lets just say he was happy to see her and now she's bald.
Normally if a hen is having issues you can provide her with some protection like an apron. Only in Sweet Pea's case she'd need a helmet. Or a wig. Hmm, I wonder if those Locks of Love people would do a chicken?
And if that weren't bad enough. Some of the Fat Bottom Girls decided to moult. It started looking like a chicken exploded inside the coop. Feathers everywhere. Then suddenly there were no feathers anywhere. I thought that was a little odd. Then I noticed one eating a feather. In and of itself that wouldn't be so bad. Feathers have lots of protein in them.
But these gals, once they figured out they liked the yummy feathers decided they wanted more. Only there were none available. But before long one of them put two and two together and realized "Hey, I'm covered in these things" and proceeded to start plucking feathers out of her own chest. It's now become a fad.
Which would be all fine and dandy except the next step would be to start plucking them right out of their neighbor. I suspect the neighbor may not like that. If that starts to happen you can rest assured they will eventually peck at a tiny feather trying to grow back in causing it to bleed. Then things start spinning out of control and they all start pecking at the blood and the next thing you know the peckee is dead. Happens all the time.
But luckily there are a couple of things we can do to prevent this. Number one is to provide them with plenty of entertainment to keep their wee little minds off plucking feathers. I'm now raking up piles of leaves to throw into their run every morning. They love to scratch through the pile looking for bugs. You would be amazed how long this keeps them entertained.
Secondly, this could be a sign that they have a protein deficiency. Avia Charge 2000 is a vitamin supplement and comes in a powder form that can be mixed into their water. It turns the water brown and stinks to high heaven, but they seem to like it. It claims it will stop the picking and will expedite feather regrowth. So far so good. But I'll tell ya, some of the ingredients are fish emulsion and garlic. Anybody know where I can get some chicken breath mints? Yeesh!