I can only surmise that the girls are getting bored and can't find anything better to do with their time than to peck at each other or decide they are having some sort of gender identity crisis and have the need to behave like roosters. Today I noticed that Ebony has a bald spot on her back. Now most of the girls, except Ivy, have some picked feather spots on their backs, but not bald spots. Well, now I know why. Apparently Penny has decided she needs to behave like a rooster and mount Ebony. Funny thing is, I think she is having the same thing done to her because I saw the same injury to her back today too. I have a chicken saddle in case of injury. I thought this was probably a good time to try it out before it got too bad.
I thought it would be a difficult procedure. I found the key was to bring her into the coop and have her in my lap. For one, no one else could bother us. Secondly, it gave me a better angle to get the straps up over her shoulders and secured properly. In the pictures above she was kind of pouting at the indignity of it all. It took her a few minutes to get her wing feathers just right. She fussed at the elastic straps around her wings for a bit. Finally I was ready to let her go back out.
Amazingly, no one really gave her a second look at her new apparel. She seems to have adjusted to her new duds just fine. I ordered a bunch more since I believe this could be an ongoing problem. In the picture just above you can see her pecking at a Flock Block. I was hoping their pecking instincts would be more focused on that than on each other. Apparently not.
So, then I came out a little later to check on Ebony and make sure she had not gotten into any trouble with her pretty purple saddle. She was fine, but what I found was not fine. Now Ivy, who until sometime today was my only pristine chicken left. She had beautiful full feathers, not a pick or peck on her ... until today. For whatever reason, Rachel decided it would be great fun to come up behind her and pick out her butt feathers. Why!!??? Why would a chicken decide to pick out fluffy butt feathers?? Oh, but she did and did a real good job too.
Oh yes, just as bald as can be. Now what do I do about that?? I may actually have to put a diaper on her to give her protection. Protection for more of Rachel's picking (she may be done, I hope) but also against the frigid cold we are suppose to get later this week. Can you imagine a chicken with a frostbit butt?? Oh the joys of chicken keeping. They do keep me on my toes. Can't wait for spring when there will be more for them to do.
Namaste and Aho