Of the variety of 9 breeds in my flock of nine hens, two of them, the Speckled Sussex and Buff Orpington until recently have been extraordinarily good layers. Both are 1 ½ to 2 years of age. Just recently they have perhaps become broody. But what concerns me is they both incessantly peck at themselves as if bothered by mites or fleas. I’ve distributed diatomaceous earth in the sand on the coop floor, and the nesting boxes containing wheat straw, and in the dirt run. The other hens occasionally take dirt bathes in the run and rarely do I see them peck at themselves. Could the pecking have any correlation to brooding? And is there a method to relieve these two hens of the need to peck at themselves?