Barebacked hens in freezing weather

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sudolph, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. sudolph

    sudolph In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2007
    Out of 17 hens, 2 have substantial bare patches on their backs. Yes, I'm slow thinking of this, but the night lows are in the upper twenties, and they free range during the days. Chicken house has a heat lamp over the roost, but should I coat their backs with something? I was thinking of pine tar. "Pecks No More" doesn't last and hour before it is gone, in my experience.

    Thanks for your advice.

  2. GraceAK

    GraceAK Songster

    Nov 28, 2009
    Eagle River, AK
    Wouldn't pine tar block the skins ability to breathe? I think it would damage their skin...
    Some people have tried vaseline; I don't know you've tried that yet, but it's worth a try. Chickens dont like the texture...

    Are the other chickens plucking the feathers because they lack something in their diet or because they are too close together, or are they just rowdy?
    Because if it's diet, sunflower seeds should help.
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:Can you sew them up some saddles? Or if you do a search here on BYC there are instructions for making a no-sew saddle. My roo has one favorite hen; used to be two but he's not so hard on the one's back anymore.
    His favorite wears a double thickness saddle all the time now; not only does it protect her from him, it helps keep her warm too.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2009
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop do they preen themselves with the saddle on?

  5. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Quote:When there are no feathers, there's nothing to preen.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    It seems like it would be important to determine why they are bare-backed. If it's the usual cause -- an overenthusiastic, or undercoordinated, rooster -- then salves and dressings are not likely to make much if any difference, a saddle is what you'd want. OTOH if it is from picking, you would want to KNOW to try to get it stopped.

    FWIW though, I had a little campine hen very barebacked all last winter (large sussex roo's favorite concubine, what can you do), I kept thinking I'd try to sew a saddle for her but never did because honestly she never acted any differetnly. She did sleep snuggled up under the roo's wing every night (does that when feathered, too), which probably kept her warmer, and my chicken building did not get below the low 20s F last winter so it'd be a different matter if you are getting down to the single digits or whatever; but I just thought I'd toss that out as a data point.

    Good luck, have fun,

  7. wildorchid053

    wildorchid053 Songster

    May 12, 2009
    syracuse area, ny
    chicken saddles are so easy to make..thinking of making quilted ones for the ones with a little bare back..gets really cold here


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