I would have thought that by now, my chickens would have grown back the feathers on their backs and all would be normal again, but no. In fact, recently there have been more feathers floating around on the ground and even Cooper seems to have lost his one shiny blue tail feather.
Some of it is definitely due to meanness in the pecking order. Poor little Arya gets the worst of it, as she is the smallest. Her fluffy Araucana cheeks have been plucked to where she has a skinny little bare chicken neck. I see her furtively scoot away from the mean hens when she finds them approaching, and quickly dodging in and out of the crowd when I toss down treats so she gets her share without lingering where she can get pecked. She is the first to flap up onto the doorway when she sees me getting ready to scoop up a cup full of cracked corn, hoping to get some special attention. She doesn’t want to be petted, but at least when she is up out of the way nobody can abuse her.
The poor little bird. She is not badly injured and is not in danger but she must be in perpetual stress. I think if I took her out of the mix, somebody else would take her place as the primary victim. I still get three blue eggs from the three Araucana hens most days, so even though they are the most abused in the flock their bodies are still working for them.