Broody hen is bald

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Supernatural, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. Supernatural

    Supernatural In the Brooder

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    Aug 7, 2010
    Des Moines
    My BO started molting about two months ago, and went broody about 2 weeks ago. Every morning when I let the hens out, I toss Ms. Broody out into the yard to eat something for-crying-out-loud. We're waiting out the broodiness, but I've tossed her out of the nest box a couple times a day since this started.

    Anyway, yesterday I noticed that she's completely bald on her underside. Her breastbone is bare (and kind of gross, honestly). Obviously this is kind of an issue since we live in Iowa and it's still below freezing here most of the time.

    Is this normal for broody hens to be bald? Should I worry?
     
  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Yes they pick out their breast feathers to line the nest.

    Imp
     
  3. tigerrrrrrrlilly

    tigerrrrrrrlilly Songster

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    Mar 27, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Also you might wanna check for bugs just in case. Broodys are more susceptible to mites and lice. She could be just picking herself, but you never know.
    Put a bunch of straw or other nesting material around her to try and keep her from using her feathers. Feed her extra protien in case she is eating her feathers, she likely needs it anyway if you have to force her to go eat. Put some chick starter or gamebird feed next to her in the nest along with some water.
     
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  5. Supernatural

    Supernatural In the Brooder

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    Aug 7, 2010
    Des Moines
    I considered she may be doing a "feathering the nest" thing, but I haven't seen any feathers in the nest box. Eating them? I guess she must be. My other hens have not lost any feathers, so I don't suspect parasites, however I will check them all over carefully just to be sure (Thanks for the link, btw, that will help a lot!) The others haven't molted or shown any broody behavior at all, and they're all a year old; they pretty much ignore the broody hen, but she is Coop Queen, so maybe that's in their best interest [​IMG]

    Thanks again for the info!
     
  6. Lisa202

    Lisa202 Songster

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Long Island NY
    I also just read that they do that so their skin is against the eggs...maybe for a more moist environment at the end? My broody also has feathers missing underneath, but it's on the sides underneath, not her complete belly. I too saw very little feathers in the nest. I was feeding her lots of meals worms twice a day, so she was getting protein.
     
  7. newchik715

    newchik715 Songster

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    Aug 31, 2009
    Washington
    wow...this is the first time i heard that broodies will pick their feathers off to use for the nest or to eat....actually it makes sense to me but i had never come across it. Very good to know as i hope to have my own backyard hatch one day!
     
  8. tigerrrrrrrlilly

    tigerrrrrrrlilly Songster

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    Mar 27, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Quote:Maybe it was easier to eat feathers for food rather than leave the nest to get it... lol
     

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