Bald butts on half my flock...

Kusery

Chirping
Nov 24, 2017
10
15
54
Ranier, MN
This is Audrey Hepburn. This is her butt. Half of my flock looks like this. I just got done working a stretch of 7 shifts where I went to work in the dark and came home in the dark. I do my best with the girls when these shift rotations happen. Anyway, day off today and I am shocked at what I'm seeing. From searching other posts it seems to be a malicious feather pucker in the group. But 6 of my 15? In one week? I'm confused. Going to do thorough cleaning tomorrow, move some roosts around in case it's happening while on the roosting bars at night. Am I on the right track? Any tips or ideas?
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azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,796
34,362
1,122
Colorado Rockies
There are a few common reasons why chicken butts grow bald. One is molting, but that isn't the case with the chicken butt you are showing us. There would be an even distribution of new pin feathers in the naked area.

Another reason is blood sucking parasites and even lice will congregate around the butt to be near moisture from the vent. You need to verify this by doing a night time check of the roosts and chicken legs and feet to see if you see these marauders running amok. Then get some poultry powder and go to town on them.

I think the reason for the bald butts in your flock could be feather picking. The clues are bruising on the skin in the bald spot where it appears feathers and pin feathers are being plucked. Those dark splotches have me puzzled, though. Have you noticed any bleeding or scabs on any butts? Perhaps those dark spots are healing injuries. If you have an explanation for those liver spots, please enlighten us.

The best way to verify if this is the cause of the bare butts, you need to set up surveillance, either sit out there for a few hours or set up a game cam. If this is the problem, pinless peepers often solve the problem when all else fails.
 

Kusery

Chirping
Nov 24, 2017
10
15
54
Ranier, MN
There are a few common reasons why chicken butts grow bald. One is molting, but that isn't the case with the chicken butt you are showing us. There would be an even distribution of new pin feathers in the naked area.

Another reason is blood sucking parasites and even lice will congregate around the butt to be near moisture from the vent. You need to verify this by doing a night time check of the roosts and chicken legs and feet to see if you see these marauders running amok. Then get some poultry powder and go to town on them.

I think the reason for the bald butts in your flock could be feather picking. The clues are bruising on the skin in the bald spot where it appears feathers and pin feathers are being plucked. Those dark splotches have me puzzled, though. Have you noticed any bleeding or scabs on any butts? Perhaps those dark spots are healing injuries. If you have an explanation for those liver spots, please enlighten us.

The best way to verify if this is the cause of the bare butts, you need to set up surveillance, either sit out there for a few hours or set up a game cam. If this is the problem, pinless peepers often solve the problem when all else fails.
One of the girls does have some blood. The rest of them are "clean." I did a healthy round of diatomaceous earth a few weeks ago, but a lot of rain. Wouldn't hurt to reapply, huh? I'll talk to my feed store about more aggressive measures. I don't have a game cam, but I do have a go-pro. My husband says it has night vision. It wouldn't be too hard to track down a game cam if I need to. I plan on tackling this problem on all fronts. I live in northern Minnesota and I worry about these bare butts in the coming winter. I don't heat the coop. It's dry and well ventilated but their bare tooshies might get too cold!
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,796
34,362
1,122
Colorado Rockies
If you do have mites in your coop, DE will do absolutely zero to get rid of them. You need a non-toxic to poultry insecticide. Permethrin is one that is authorized to be used on and around poultry. I happen to use spinosad which is another. I buy it under the label Elector PSP. It has a long lasting residual in dimly lit places and kills adults and eggs. Permethrin needs several applications to get the job done. You can find spinosad cheaper at places that sell garden supplies. It's a biological control and very safe for chickens. You can spray it right on their skin to get rid of parasites for many months.

Now that you've confirmed that you've observed injuries to some butts, I'm even more inclined to believe you have at least one feather snatcher. Look first at the ones with well feathered butts.
 

micstrachan

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Apr 10, 2016
10,760
53,540
1,147
Santa Cruz Mountains, California
+1 to feather picking. Bruising and blood are a five away. You need to figure out who is doing this before things get dangerous (blood can lead to extreme pecking and injury or even death... don’t mean to be dramatic, but want you to have all the info.)

Do you know the percent of protein in their feed? Also, what is your coop set up and how many birds? I suspect this may be happening on the roost.
 

Kusery

Chirping
Nov 24, 2017
10
15
54
Ranier, MN
If you do have mites in your coop, DE will do absolutely zero to get rid of them. You need a non-toxic to poultry insecticide. Permethrin is one that is authorized to be used on and around poultry. I happen to use spinosad which is another. I buy it under the label Elector PSP. It has a long lasting residual in dimly lit places and kills adults and eggs. Permethrin needs several applications to get the job done. You can find spinosad cheaper at places that sell garden supplies. It's a biological control and very safe for chickens. You can spray it right on their skin to get rid of parasites for many months.

Now that you've confirmed that you've observed injuries to some butts, I'm even more inclined to believe you have at least one feather snatcher. Look first at the ones with well feathered butts.
Thanks for the tips. I will go and sit with them tomorrow after cleaning to see it I can figure out the fully feathered bully. Also going to see what's available for pest control. Even if the culprits aren't parasites, it wouldn't hurt anyway. Set up a camera, too. I'm curious anyway as to what goes on in there at night. It isn't as much rough and tumble time as it used to be when it gets dark, but I'm still curious. Thanks again!
 

ejtrout31

Crowing
Aug 13, 2018
1,103
2,393
252
Deer River Minnesota
There are many reasons for feathers falling of in my option this is not molting but feather picking. I can offer more advice if I know how old your birds are, what breeds, your hen to rooster ratio, if you have introduced any new birds reacntly. I should be more help with these questions answered.
 

Vanilla Gorilla

Songster
Oct 4, 2017
82
106
106
Utah
I'll add my voice to the chorus of feather picking. I just had to re-home half my flock because of the same thing. I tried hen saddles and pinless peepers to discourage feather picking, but those only helped so much. Turns out I just had too many hens for the space I have.

It was weird - I first noticed it on one bird, like it might have just been bullying. But then the problem spread to 4 or 5 birds. As I sat there and watched them, others had learned from the original feather plucker, and then it became a feather plucking epidemic.

The moral of my story - I'd make sure you have enough space for the amount of birds you have. My experience says that every "guideline" you hear or see about space requirements is inadequate.

Good Luck!
 

BF Vince

Chirping
Nov 19, 2016
29
15
59
Mossyrock, WA
pasty butt.jpg
I also have a hen that had to have a spa day. She had a nasty looking butt. I had to really work to get all the stuff (not sure what it was matted around feathers) once done she looked like the picture. Not sure if I ripped out the feathers trying to clean her up of if she was already bold.
 

dawg53

Humble
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Nov 27, 2008
27,905
14,570
906
Glen St Mary, Florida
View attachment 1697227 I also have a hen that had to have a spa day. She had a nasty looking butt. I had to really work to get all the stuff (not sure what it was matted around feathers) once done she looked like the picture. Not sure if I ripped out the feathers trying to clean her up of if she was already bold.
Uric acid in feces causes loss of feathers and redness on skin, it burns the skin. Put some Nu-Stock on the red areas and it will heal up and also prevent any picking.
Wear disposable gloves when applying it.
thnustock.jpg
 

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