My most hated problem is back. Speckles is being plucked. I delayed mentioning this because it has taken a while for us to catch the culprits. It seems that Peaches and Barley are methodically plucking her.
The worst thing is that it’s not just her bottom but it’s all over. I posted a while back that she had pins on her bottom and was nearly fully feathered again. Soon after that post we noticed that those pins had disappeared and they have since started to come through again and have been pulled again.
I then noticed some feathers missing from her head. After that feathers were missing from her back. Next feathers were missing from her throat. Over the last few days more feathers have gone from her head leaving her bald on the left side of her head.
She has a bare neck but it can only be seen when she lifts her head up and she has a triangular patch of missing feathers from her back but they can only be noticed from certain angles.
She spends time in corners or on top of the chicken shelter. I think she tries to keep herself out of the way but I have seen Peaches go up to her in the corner and pick at her head.
Last year I re homed Butterscotch with Moira at Whitehouse farm because she was getting her head plucked whenever she was broody and I didn’t feel I could part with Peaches and Barley who I have had since they were chicks. I hoped that removing Butterscotch would remove the problem.
Sadly it seems that they have just moved on to the next most vulnerable victim. Last year Butterscotch, this year Speckles. Despite the spats between Peaches and Emerald, Emerald has remained top girl and gives Peaches an occasional peck to show her. I think this means they leave Emerald alone and concentrate all their efforts on poor Speckles.
I feel absolutely torn about what to do here. I feel I can’t keep re homing girls and yet I really don’t want plucking in my flock. I am realising that Peaches and Barley will probably just keep finding a new victim to pluck and I worry about the habit spreading or the little girls getting plucked.
Peaches and Barley have also become very noisy since we have had the little girls. They spend a lot of time making mournful cries and they chase the the little girls mercilessly.
They have been with me for three years now and since they were only six weeks old. They have always been a tight pair and are inquisitive and endearing and still like to jump on my back. I am not sure if I can give them up and yet I can’t bear to see plucking and want to wipe it out from my flock.
I hate seeing Speckles head becoming more and more stripped each day. I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I should re home them or wait until next year and see if it happens again then. I am going to have keep thinking about this for a while. It’s just too hard a decision to make.