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Feather picking? Broody?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I noticed today that several of my hens are missing feathers on their undersides, starting a couple inches from the vent and going all the way up to their crops. It's not a lot, as you can't see the bald spots without pulling the feathers around them back, but it's concerning me. It looks just like my broody does when she's sitting eggs and plucks to keep them warm, except non of these gals act broody at all. At first I suspected feather picking but it's in such a hard to reach area and is on some of the top hens. I know my head hen didn't do it because she's broody right now and has never pulled feathers that I've ever seen. I watch my ladies a lot and I haven't seen any abnormal behavior. What the heck? Any ideas?
post #2 of 8
I think some hens pluck even if they aren't broody. I do notice as the laying season gets on that many do end up with missing feathers on the under side. It's also possible that the eggs rub or break off feathers while they are fidgeting in the nestboxes waiting to lay an egg.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Wouldn't surprise me if that's what they are doing. Chickens are weird. No one warns you how strange and yet addictive they are.
I do think now I may have a feather eater though. I noticed one girl has wounds on her underside near her vent and some of the feathers are broken off and scabbed because she's young and going through her final juvenile molt so some were blood feathers. I suspect I know who the culprit is. My marans hen has a history of feather picking. I haven't seen anything but a couple days in solitary won't hurt her. Taking her down a notch of two in the pecking order might help her be less bossy if nothing else.
post #4 of 8
That's how I would start with her. I had a feather picker once. It can be hard to stop. I think it caused by a deficiency. Is the hen older, layer often doesn't have enough protein to support most backyard flocks. Most people feed extra things which dilutes the protein, something I listened to and tried from this site and my birds seem better for it. I feed an all flock now. And yes chickens are weird, that's why they are so appealing.😀
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
I recently switched feed because some of the ladies are incorporated into the flock now but still finishing out their juvinile molt so I figured they needed the extra protine. The hen I suspect is not quite a year old and started laying in December. Last time we had this issue I isolated her for a few days and started letting them have to run of the yard and that seemed to help. I think the issue is that we are babysitting dogs that would just love a chicken dinner so they have been confined to their run. Something they aren't used to. It's not small. 5'x30' for 7 ladies. They just don't like it. The dogs go home today and they will get their yard back so I hope that solves the problem. Miss Maggie is still getting a couple days to herself to think about her behavior.
post #6 of 8
Totally understand, naughty dogs and chickens, got them both. Miss Maggie sounds like a southern Belle.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
She's thinks she's really something. She's a blue copper marans and she's huge! Way bigger than the others. Maybe she thinks her eggs are better. She lays a 5 on the color chart. She's #2 though. My head hen is, believe it or not, a silkie. Nobody messes with mama silkie. She was my oldest and thinks the rest are her "babies". No one ever challenges her.
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherlaw View Post

She's thinks she's really something. She's a blue copper marans and she's huge! Way bigger than the others. Maybe she thinks her eggs are better. She lays a 5 on the color chart. She's #2 though. My head hen is, believe it or not, a silkie. Nobody messes with mama silkie. She was my oldest and thinks the rest are her "babies". No one ever challenges her.
That's great to hear, often silkies get bullied in a mixed flock, yours must be feisty.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
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