Bare Butts on my chickens!


In the Brooder
8 Years
Mar 27, 2011
Hi All

Thanks in advance for your help! It is my first year having chickens, I have 11 (9 heavy breed and 2 bantam) laying hens. I live in Maine and so the ground is frozen and there is some snow on the ground. The girls have a 8x8x8 coop with 3 laying boxes, 2 long roosting poles, and a poop/perch board. They also have a 10x10x4 outdoor pen in which to play (I close this off at night to protect from our many preditors). I recently noticed that 2 of my girls have feathers missing on their butts. I suspect this may be from boredom and pecking at eachother. I have a couple of homemade flock blocks in their pen that they peck at, as well as put vinegar in their water. I'm not sure what else to do! I plan on building them a bigger pen in the spring when the ground is not frozen to give them more space. Does anyone have any ideas? Also, is this from something other than pecking?

In their coop they have pine shavings that I dust with diatomaceous earth and am trying to do the deep litter method. I thought this kept bugs away, but that's a possibility I guess.....



Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
Strasburg Ohio
I think that looks like pecking....Why not "set a spell" and just watch them for about a half hour or so if you can. You will probably see the feather picker in action. Here's a hint: It will be the chicken with all her feathers intact. haha

You could also check for lice. Sometimes wild birds seek refuge with the chickens when it's very cold out, and they transfer the lice to your domestic birds. Demacious Earth really doesn't work for a lice infestation.

Let us know what you find! Good luck,


In the Brooder
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
From what Ive learned if a chicken is starting to molt the other girls will start picking on her. I dont see any blood on her butt so it isnt likely to be that. If the chickens are wanting more protein they will eat their own and others feathers. Might be that.
Sometimes they're bored and will do it for something to do.
Whatever the reason, spray on tea tree oil works wonders. It works as a disinfectant, and they dont like the smell or taste of it. Anyway you look at it the others will leave her alone and give her time to heal or grow more feathers. I also use it when the girls are making the pecking order when I add newbies. The others go easier on the new girls and by the time the smell has worn off they have integrated.
You can use the liquid but I find the spray is better. It works well on frozen combs and any skin injury.
Well. it works for me.


8 Years
May 5, 2011
Western NC
My Coop
My Coop
from a Mainer-in-Exile!

Sounds like you have a great set-up!

Could be bugs.

One of our roosters has a similar looking place and it turned out that the hens would peck his small fuzzy feathers every time they walked by him. It really is hilarious to see them do this, and he is so busy being worried about everything, he often fails to notice what they've done. I try to keep it sprayed with blue kote. They leave him alone when they are free ranging - but like you, we are in the woods and they can't free range unsupervised.


5 Years
Dec 12, 2014
I have this same problem! I live in CT and since the weather has gotten colder, I've noticed bare butts on my hens. I've got six hens, one rooster, and two ducks (male & female) I've treated for mites/lice and have tried adjusting protein and calcium. They free range, so boredom shouldn't be an issue. They all look ridiculous, and I've never seen them pick on each other, pretty strange. I'd love to hear what works for you!


7 Years
Jun 10, 2012
I have 8 heavy layers. They all have bare butts. All in varying size bare patches. It started last winter with 2 or 3 and now they all have it. I have inspected them for mites etc and nothing. Their diets are more than adequate and their coop is always clean. I have never witnessed any of them pecking either. 2 of them are starting to lose feathers on their chest now. They are healthy with bright red combs and bright eyes and pretty much lay every day.
I've had chickens many times before and have never had this. They are cared for/fed just the same as all the others

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