Anyone else have bare bottom hens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hennypennysmom, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. hennypennysmom

    hennypennysmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 31, 2009
    Plymouth, Ma
    History: 3 Plymouth Rocks, 4 Cochins, born last May, all hens, no roosters. Getting 5/6 eggs everyday. All appear healthy, fed laying pellets, handful of scratch, table scraps, fresh water. They are living in the Taj Mahal of chicken coops too (pic below!). They have pine shavings in their hen house, a roost and 2 nesting boxes. The hen house is cleaned on a weekly basis (or more if it needs it). The run is turned over when needed and DE is sprinkled in the henhouse and run.

    Problem: 6 of our 7 laying hens have bare bottoms. No sign of mites, lice or bugs. Just bare bottoms. Some of them appear to be losing the feathers around the base of their tail too (on their backs). They are acting like absolutely nothing is wrong. The area that is bare is simply that, bare - no blood, no pus, no sign of aggressive behavior - just very clean, bare chicken butts! I do see them eating feathers (small ones), but they'll eat just about anything. The only one that DOESN'T have a bare butt is Aster, the broody hen who'll sadly never hatch anything without a boyfriend! [​IMG]

    My dad, who used to have chickens, says that some laying hens just do that and not to worry. I'm just checking in here to see if anyone else has the same experience - boy, they look like $#@@!

    I'm thinking we need to put up a few more roosts in the run, and maybe get one of those Purina Chick Blocks (or whatever they are called). They have enough room, and have been going out in the afternoons for a little bit.

    Thanks - we love them, they are so entertaining and just a little bit spoiled! [​IMG]

    They had such cute, fluffy butts, but now they are looking pretty rough - those girls. They are still sweet though. Just wondering if anyone else has had the same experience.

    Thanks,

    Kara

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  2. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] Nice coop!
    [​IMG] I'm a first-year chicken-keeper, don't have a clue or any advice, so sorry! I love that close-up photo too! beautiful bird.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
  3. will hunt for food

    will hunt for food Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 17, 2009
    Have you observed them fighting? Usually they will pick at each other if they are overcrowded, and that coop/run may be tight for your 7 birds. Once picking starts, they will continue to pick the bare area. My first guess is this: you need more room for your 7 birds..

    I keep 8 birds in my coop, and free range them for about 1.5 hours each afternoon:




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    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
  4. hennypennysmom

    hennypennysmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 31, 2009
    Plymouth, Ma
    WOW!! That is ONE super deluxe coop! I haven't really observed them fighting. I'm not sure that we can build ours any bigger. Of course as the weather gets better, we can let them roam more often...hopefully that will be soon.
    Thanks,
    Kara
     
  5. Mandalina

    Mandalina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2009
    Savannah,MO
    cute coop and lovely lady!

    some of my girls are bare backed at this moment. my roo just turned a year old but is already 12lbs of bird and he gets a little rough- Add febuary molting madness into that and they started plucking each other's already partiaclly bare backs into completely bare.

    I would agree that the coop is a tiny bit small for 7 birds though. they like their space. they could all also be feeding off each others plucking if one or two started molting.
     
  6. hennypennysmom

    hennypennysmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 31, 2009
    Plymouth, Ma
    So do they molt every Feb? This is our first Feb with them. I just spent a good amount of time out in the coop with them, put up another roost, turned over the run (it's getting muddy, think I'm going to try and add some sand) and looked at each of them closely (boy were they excited about that). I don't see any signs of parasites. In fact, the feathers around their vents are still there - it's just below that and on their backs that I'm seeing it. I do notice that there are feathers starting to grow back on many of them. Very weird, indeed. While I was out there, I did notice one pecking the others feather, so maybe they are doing it to each other. How do I stop that? I'm going to Agway, thought about Blue Kote which I think I read about here. Will see what they say....

    Kara
     
  7. Baymen Moe

    Baymen Moe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 17, 2009
    Pembroke, Ma.
    I have had the same problem recently and my run is more than the recomended size for my birds. HOWEVER, they were getting bored, which seems to be the main cause of the feather picking in healthy birds. I had not free ranged much if at all, but it has come down to either letting them out more or having them peck each other to pieces. The other day I let them out for over 4 hours and they already have shown me a response to it. I also have put a flock block in the run and have seen less pecking going on. Like you I loved my great looking birds and was bummed out to see bare bottoms on them, no mites or lice or feed issues. Boredom will do it.

    I tried blue kote, it worked on a few but not all. I had one hen with blood showing which was a magnet for one of my Orp's. Since a little free range time and the flock block, no more bloody butt. I think I have turned the corner on my situation, hope you have good results.
     
  8. hennypennysmom

    hennypennysmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 31, 2009
    Plymouth, Ma
    Baymen Moe - We are neighbors - we're in Plymouth! Where did you get your chick block? Our local Agway doesn't carry it. I would like to try that. I agree about the roaming. They love, love, love to go out and will get IRATE with me if i come and see them and don't let them out. They are very opinionated!
    Kara
     
  9. will hunt for food

    will hunt for food Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 17, 2009
    Hey folks, what is a "flock block"?

    BTW, I thought molting occured in the fall?
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
  10. Baymen Moe

    Baymen Moe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 17, 2009
    Pembroke, Ma.
    Hi Kara, I'm sorry, I didn't even notice you were from Plymouth until you mentioned it. I got my flock block at Hanson Grain on rte 14 in Hanson. If you haven't been there, it's a nice place. They did have quite a few flock blocks recently. You can call them @781-447-6621.
    Let me know how you make out.

    Bill
     

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