My girlfriend gave me the birds from her coop, which had a total of about 20 birds in it that was 10x20, which is what these girls now have only with 5 hens. She gave them to me about 2 months ago fully feathered. I will try the salt in the water. I see them all plucking each other, not just bald spots. Their diet is layer pellets from Purina, hen scratch and assorted greens/fruit/veggies as I find leftovers in the fridge. I plan to give them more greens as the garden starts to produce. The layer pellet instructions say this is the only feed they should be given but I don't like that idea either. Unfortunately, there is no way I can increase the size of the run; we have wild dogs/coyotes here that will get the birds and I cant afford more fencing to expand at this time. They are Americana's and lay very well for me.
I will try to add more areas for them to "play" in such as perches higher up in the run. I don't see a noticeable pecking order; it seems everyone is "hen pecked". LOL I'm wondering if, because of the new surroundings and missing "sister hens" they have to re-establish a pecking order. I know horses are like this, perhaps chickens are as well? The Purina food says it's complete, should I add some extra grit/calcium in it as well?
Thanks all, for your replies!