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Why did my chicken pull her feathers out around her butt?????

post #1 of 2
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I have 4 hens who are all 17 weeks and have been together since they were 1 day old. I keep them in a coop and check on them several times a day. This morning I checked on them and found our first egg in the nesting box, I was so excited. It was small but the shell was thick and I'm hoping they are getting on a routine cycle. I noticed my biggest hen, Maxine, was missing some of the feathers on the underside of her body near her butt. It's hard to explain but it looks like she pulled them out and her skin is showing. The area is also pushed back slightly like maybe an egg is on the inside trying to come out. As you can tell I am a first time chicken mother. I'm not sure which one laid the first egg but suspect it was her. So does anyone know why the feathers are missing? Is this in anticipation of her egg laying? When will she start laying eggs daily?

Any advice is appreciated.

Thank you,
Dhalyn big_smile

I love my kids, hubby, Yorkie, kitty cat, hamster and 4 chickens.
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I love my kids, hubby, Yorkie, kitty cat, hamster and 4 chickens.
Reply
post #2 of 2

I doubt the feather picking was her.  It was likely one of her mates.  I have a feather picker who pulls feathers off fluffy butts.  She has a set of pinless peepers on her now because she decimated several birds in the course of a couple weeks- 4 hens have large bald patches and a few others have smaller bald areas.  Feather picking is usually a winter thing that happens due to lack of dietary protein, lack of space, boredom...It can be devastating if it goes on too long, and can also lead to cannibalism in extreme cases.

Increase your protein intake for the flock- BOSS, yogurt, cat food in limited amounts, bits of left over meat from your table, maybe switch to a grower formula for its increased protein content.

Make sure you have adequate space.  Provide some entertainment in that space.  Hanging vegetables, flock blocks, BOSS mixed in some shavings or dried leaves in the run are all good sources of entertainment for chickens.

If these fail then look at some of the products on the market to stop this behavior- Hot Pick/No Pick, pine tar, and pinless peepers are all marketed to stop picking.  I've used all 3 and they all work with varying degrees of success.  I am currently using the peepers and they have proven themselves to be very effective.  I recommend them to lots of folks.  I hate the pine tar and would rather use anything else on the market before I use that wretched goo again, so I don't using recommend that unless you are out of options.

Hope this helps.  Good luck.

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BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying › Why did my chicken pull her feathers out around her butt?????