Back feathers missing or changing


10 Years
Nov 3, 2009
I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the correct area because I don't know if my chicken is sick or not.

Breed: Brown Silkie
Age: about 9 months Old
Laying: Great layer - about an egg a day
Behavior: just fine and fiestier then ever
Poop: too large to describe and healthy
Bedding: pine shavings
Run: clean hay, covered on top and 3 sides
Food: mostly laying crumbles, with weekly treats from the table

Her back half is now gray. My sister (and I) THINK that her top, brown layer of feathers is picked off and now her gray, downy underlayer is showing.

We think she is plucking herself and lining the nesting box - although I haven't done an inspection yet (on my to-do-list this week)? Would she be doing this in preparation to become broody? Is there some other disease I should be watching/checking for?
Is she in moult normally as well or is this only the deliberate pulling of her own feathers? Some hens will pluck their own feathers as they seem to become irritated by them during moult. I guess they know which feathers are going anyway just like a child's loose tooth which is often teased and wiggled to get the darned thing out of the way.

Hens can pluck their own feathers to line a nest, usually breast plumage when they are coming up to brooding. At 9 months your might be on the way to her first session. The breast becomes bared so that her warm skin can keep eggs at the perfect temperature. To get the required bared patch (which is sometimes not seen until you pick the bird up and examine her) all the feathers in that area will be removed.

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