4 week old chick with missing down/feathers


Jul 20, 2021
Davidson, North Carolina
Hi there! I’m new to the site and also new to owning chickens. I hate that this is the first post I’m making, but here it goes.

A little background on my flock: We bought 4 chicks about 3 weeks ago. 1 Starlight Green Egger and 3 that are either Sapphire Gems or Sapphire Olive Eggers (My guess is that 2 are Saphhire Olive Eggers and one was Sapphire Gem). Devastatingly, we lost the one I suspected to be a Sapphire Gem within the first week due to my 3 year old maneuvering her way into the room where the brooder was being kept and loving it a little too hard. I was heartbroken but I learned a valuable lesson that day & proper changes were put in place to ensure that never happens again.

Now onto the issue at hand. As I was cleaning out the brooder this morning, I picked up and examined each of the chicks and noticed a bald patch on one of the Olive Eggers. It was almost completely unnoticeable unless her head was turned a specific way to expose it so it might have happened over night or it potentially could have happened over a series of days without me noticing it. The skin seems a little dry but it isn’t too awful red and there was some pus (?) looking goop on the feathers that are coming in to the right of the bald patch. No blood. Pics will be at the bottom of post. I have noticed some pecking between them but there was never any pulling of down or feathers so I assumed it was innocent. I haven’t noticed any feathers plucked out in the brooder either. If I had to guess, based on observation, this chick would be my bet for the bottom of the pecking order once it’s fully established. She is acting fine, eating, drinking and pooping. Has anyone seen anything like this before? I appreciate any and all info/experiences you are willing to share.

*Here is some info that may be useful*
- They have been on Organic Chick Starter their whole lives.
- I have only offered non-starter treats (a mashed up strawberry and some cottage cheese) 2 times of which they showed no interest.
- Grit is available in one of the holes of their feeder.
- They have a perch stand in the brooder with them.
- Bedding is tractor supply flake pine shavings.
- The brooder is made up of a dog crate that measures 22 inches by 35 inches (over 5 square feet for 3 birds).
- Poops have been normal. I have noticed a few that were soft, maybe a tiny bit runny but still brown but nothing abnormal. Not even sure they came from this specific bird.
- Her vent is clean
- I did add in a “chick cake” today to entertain them and promote healthy pecking

I have never raised chicks before so the whole process of their feathers coming in is foreign to me. I don’t know what she *should* look like overall and I have read this is the “ugly” phase so I’m not sure what’s normal and what’s not. I am also going to include a picture of her if anyone would mind telling me if she looks healthy overall or like she may have some issues going on.

I think that about covers it. Hopefully I haven’t put anyone to sleep with this post. Bare with me, I’m trying my best! Thanks again for any info or advice.

**and just to note, I don’t keep their food that close to the perch. I just set it there to take a picture because she was standing there their food normally goes.


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