Bleeding vents and pulled tail feathers in roos


10 Years
May 27, 2009
My 4 month old Buff Orpington roos are having a problem. I found one today sitting on the ground being pecked and when I lifted it up all of it's tail feathers were missing and it's vent had been eaten open. I isolated it and it died in a couple of hours, as expected.

Then I saw another one running around behaving normally but with a bleeding rear end. When I examined it, all of the tail feathers had been pulled out but no vent damage yet. I isolated it as well and will see how it's doing in the morning.

Since I was planning on culling most of the roos at maturity anyway, only keeping two for breeding, I am not too upset, but don't want it to spread to the hens.

There are several possibilities I am considering:

(1) The two roos in question got into it and pulled each other's tail feathers out;

(2) There was a loud scream from what I thought was just one bird yesterday when I went to close the roof on the mobile coop and there was a chicken that had flown up and perched without my noticing. Maybe there were two of them and the lid pulled their feathers out;

(3) They have mites or lice;

(4) The geese and/or ducks that are in with them are pulling out their tail feathers when they get rowdy;

(5) There is some kind of Ebola virus thing going on.

Please help me before this spreads!
No rats. Mice. Where you have mice, you don't have rats, and vice versa.

These are 4 month olds from a straight run so half are roosters. Only the roosters are having their feathers picked so far.

I had been giving them lots of tomatoes recently so maybe they were eating too much of that and not enough mash.

I don't have feed out all day due to squirrels and chipmonks that abound and can get into the run.

They like the duck food more than their own mash. I don't know what's in that but I can't keep them out of it unless I build a partition and then their space may be too cramped. I am builing a winter coop which will give them more space so I am trying to hold out until then.

In retrospect, the backs of some of the birds did show signs of pecking before but I wasn't sure if this was pecking or just the feathers continuing to come in at different rates on different birds.

I would try a commercial flock block but it's not going to be organic certified so that would blow my cerified organic eggs.

I will look for some organic cat food today and throw some cabbage heads in there.

They are in a small enclosure at night. It's really more of a mobile hen house situation but it isn't mobile. The run is 30 by 60 for 20 chickens, 8 ducks and 2 geese.
I think they may be overcrowded. Not sure why only the roosters are suffering this problem. Maybe their tails are getting trapped because of a poorly designed coop. But it's time to cull them. Why waste your expensive organic feed on them anyway?

Minimize rodent problems by closing the buffet at night. I use a hanging feeder that gets locked up at night. It is designed to minimize spillage.

Make sure they are not sufferiing from cocci, mites, lice, or internal parasites.

My 3 cents.

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