Chicken with Bald Butt


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 12, 2011
San Diego
Need some help with a fairly new chicken who has a bald butt. As of yesterday, we didn't notice any feathers missing. We had a party last night and the kids were running around in the backyard, so not sure if she is stressed and perhaps plucked her bum? We use DE on the flock, so I don't think it's mites/parasites. I didn't notice any either. I've taken a picture - everything was fairly clean. We have four hens and at least one is pooping somewhat runny poop so I just added sulmet to their water today. I have noticed on occasion that there is a very soft egg in the nesting box. They have access to oyster shells and when I notice a soft egg, I give them eggs with egg shells. I felt the area and couldn't feel anything hard inside. The area is soft and squishy and it doesn't seem to bother her when I touch it. She is lower in the pecking order due to her and the other hen being new to the flock. There is occasional pecking, but usually just when treats are set out. Here is a picture of her behind. Should I be worried? Is there something I should be doing or checking for? Thanks so much for your help.

Hi Shauna, you say new - did you get her as an adult - how long have you had her? Do you know who is laying the soft shelled eggs? This bald butt did not come about overnight it has been like that for a while now. Her behind is soft and squishy - does it feel warm to the touch? It doesn't look particularly red so she may not be inflammed. Does it feel like it has fluid in there? When she poops does it all come out cleanly or does it leave like a little streak on her behind?
I got her at almost a year old. She and the other one I got at the same time, were both properly quarantined for 30 days prior to introduction to my original hens. I got them in mid-March 2012. Quarantined until mid-April, and so they've all been together for only about one month now. I don't know who is laying the soft shelled eggs. We leave for work in the morning and come home to the chickens having laid their eggs. I can't believe I didn't notice her bum before yesterday, but I did have a very busy weekend. It was just so obvious on Monday morning that I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed. My husband said he hadn't noticed either when he put them all in the coop on Sunday and made a point to say he saw all of their bums - but who knows for sure. I'm not sure if it feels like there is fluid in there. I've been reading today about ascites. When I felt it, I was thinking egg bound at the time, so wasn't really noticing if it felt like fluid. It is soft and maleable. Not particularly heavy, but it is soft and 'squishy' sort of like the feeling of fat around a human belly;) I haven't seen her specifically poop, I've just noticed runny poop on the ground. No, she doesn't have any poop on her - no streak on her behind.

thanks for any help you can provide.
Shauna, it is really hard to say at this point - check out the thread on this page

I can tell you my experience tho. I have had two internal layers. The first one I had no idea what was going on. I was brand new to chickens and she was a rescue. She would lay soft shell, or sometimes rubbery globs. She began to walk funny and to feel her, she was really squishy. I mean she was "sloshy". A vet looked at her and we decided to just put her down. I had another one, a leghorn, who was a good layer, too good. She should have stopped laying one December, but she continued then stopped completely in January. . I felt her and it seemed the same thing was happening. There was nothing I could do - when her quality of life eventually diminished I put her down.

It could be anything from the gland that makes the shell, internal laying, a tumor or lymphoid leukosis, or?. This condition seems pretty common.
Thanks. Yes, I've read that thread and numerous others as well. I feel like I have so much information now, but no solid answers you know? It seems like it could be nothing or something serious. I am leaning toward possible internal layer due to the soft shelled eggs we've found. I will feel again this evening to see if maybe she might need to be drained. She hates to be touched so I always feel bad having to chase her around, but know it's for her own good. I'll start with a warm epsom salt bath and maybe some olive oil and go from there. I have gloves if it comes to me having to 'grow a pair of ovaries' and really be a farm girl and check to see if she's 'blocked'. OY! I knew what I was getting into with chickens, but really had hoped for it to take longer before I had to get to the really yucky stuff;)
I know what you mean it's always frustrating when nothing matches up - you'd just like an answer so you know how to proceed.

I'll tell you I've never (yet) had one that was eggbound - but I did have one that had a shell stuck inside her - I know b/c I saw it trying to come out. I tried the warm bath, harder on me than on her haha, even tho she didn't like it. It was an older hen (another of my rescues), she was about 10 at the time. I was trying to brainstorm - I thought has anybody ever given their chicken an enema? I went out there with warm water and mineral oil and a syringe (and gloves) and it worked! The warm water did the trick and the oil lubed everything. She didn't seem to mind that at all. Good as new. Once the deed was done it didn't seem so bad, but I guess you just do what you gotta do, one step at a time. Oh, and I try never to chase them anymore - I try to trick them or lure them. They run way better than this old lady
The ones I have had that look like this are victims of pecking. You mentioned you'd noticed some. Mine did it on the roost so their antics weren't obvious at first. You can mull that one over & be on the lookout for it. Mine have to wear pinless peepers now because once they get started, they love their new hobby. Just a thought.
Thanks I'll try to keep an eye out for it when they're on the roost at night. I guess with chickens you almost have to employ the 'do everything until something works' school of thought. We are in a very urban area, so no other true farmers around that can provide help. I appreciate any advice given;)
Do a 'feather picking' or 'feather plucking' or 'feather pecking' search on here. You can find some help. Some swear by Vicks vapor rub on the pecked on chicken, some pine tar, but nothing worked on mine except the peepers. Free ranging is a great cure, but that's not possible here because I've lost 3 this year to predators when I was fairly close by. I take solace that they have a nice coop & run &, now, peepers.

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