Bare Chicken Butts

musikfan

Chirping
Nov 23, 2021
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232
68
All summer long, two of my Buffs have had bare butts with few feathers. At first I thought it might be mites or something so I dusted with DE powder. I saw no difference, and the girls were acting fine otherwise -completely healthy. Now that they are in the height of molting, their little butts have ALL their feathers and look GREAT! (if a chicken butt can look great...LOL). I still think they were plucking their butt feathers in order to get better contact with the eggs - just my opinion. I just wonder if it's like this because they are no longer laying eggs for the season.

Any thoughts?
 

musikfan

Chirping
Nov 23, 2021
74
232
68
If you are talking about feathers around the vent, a bird doesn't pluck those. They will pluck breast feathers but only if they are broody. Have your birds been sitting on eggs this summer?
My hens will spend some amount of time sitting on the egg, but I don't know exactly how long they did it. I still am trying to figure out why their butts were like that. They looked fine otherwise and acted healthy, ate well, etc. I am still trying figure out what was going on. I dusted them with DE powder for mites, but that didn't seem to make much of a difference.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,518
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St. Louis, MO
Do you have pictures of the feather loss you are talking about? I'd like to better understand the issue.
Broody hens almost always pluck some breast feathers to both line the nest and get their body heat closer to the eggs.
Sometimes if there are missing vent feathers, it could be mites/lice or possibly feathers being picked by other birds - either on the ground or on the roost (if roosts are various heights but too close together so the vent is close to another hen's face and a tempting target).
 

musikfan

Chirping
Nov 23, 2021
74
232
68
Do you have pictures of the feather loss you are talking about? I'd like to better understand the issue.
Broody hens almost always pluck some breast feathers to both line the nest and get their body heat closer to the eggs.
Sometimes if there are missing vent feathers, it could be mites/lice or possibly feathers being picked by other birds - either on the ground or on the roost (if roosts are various heights but too close together so the vent is close to another hen's face and a tempting target).
No, I don't have any pics because now their butts are perfectly fine - no missing feathers. I only have three Buffs at present but their coop is extremely small -4 x 4, so it is very possible that they were pecking each other. I had four Buffs but lost one, but while they were all there, two of the four had bare butts. The other two were OK. Still puzzling over what happened. If it were lice or mites, do you think the cold weather would have killed them off?
 

oodle

In the Brooder
Oct 3, 2021
9
23
34
All summer long, two of my Buffs have had bare butts with few feathers. At first I thought it might be mites or something so I dusted with DE powder. I saw no difference, and the girls were acting fine otherwise -completely healthy. Now that they are in the height of molting, their little butts have ALL their feathers and look GREAT! (if a chicken butt can look great...LOL). I still think they were plucking their butt feathers in order to get better contact with the eggs - just my opinion. I just wonder if it's like this because they are no longer laying eggs for the season.

Any thoughts?
Two of my chickens had this problem last year. At first I too thought it was mites. However, these chickens were at the bottom end of the pecking order and the other chickens of the flock had just been bullying these two chickens. Some butt pecking had gotten out of hand and they had bare butts for a while.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,518
28,773
1,097
St. Louis, MO
No, I don't have any pics because now their butts are perfectly fine - no missing feathers. I only have three Buffs at present but their coop is extremely small -4 x 4, so it is very possible that they were pecking each other. I had four Buffs but lost one, but while they were all there, two of the four had bare butts. The other two were OK. Still puzzling over what happened. If it were lice or mites, do you think the cold weather would have killed them off?
Cold weather won't kill those on the birds.
 

Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
3,746
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Stillwater, OK
I had this happen this summer too. I went through the same thought process as you…Is it mites? Illness? And then I spent some time just hanging out and watching them. Turns out one of the other chickens was plucking her feathers, caught her in the act.
For me it’s my ducks that will pluck chicken butts. If the chicken is bent over eating with butt in the air, and the duck wants the chicken to move out of the way, that’s the duck’s subtle hint…
 

musikfan

Chirping
Nov 23, 2021
74
232
68
I had this happen this summer too. I went through the same thought process as you…Is it mites? Illness? And then I spent some time just hanging out and watching them. Turns out one of the other chickens was plucking her feathers, caught her in the act.
That's my suspicion as well. My girls are very healthy otherwise and show no other signs f any mites or lice in any other places on their bodies. Thanks for your input.
 

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