Do chickens pluck their own feathers?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Thiccen, Jul 9, 2019 at 5:03 PM.

  1. Thiccen

    Thiccen Hatching

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    I have a black Cochin hen who's almost 6 years old and shes bald on the neck, i have no idea why though. I haven't seen any intense bullying from my other two chickens. Ive heard of parrots going bald from old age but never a chicken, shes not even that old yet. What could the cause of this balding be?
     
  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Addict

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    If she is taking to long in the favorite nest box the others may be pulling her feathers to force her to move.

    My less dominant hens also get pushed off the nests even if they barely went in there.
     
  3. Thiccen

    Thiccen Hatching

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    would she be bald for a long period of time if it was just that?
     
  4. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Addict

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    Short answer....yes.

    Long answer.....
    When they pull feathers and the feather breaks they won't usually regrow those until molt.
    When they pull feathers and the feather is pulled completely out they usually regrow quickly.....unless enough damage was done to prevent regrowth. Then they don't regrow at all.

    If feathers are trying to grow and are pulled damage can prevent new feathers.

    The other thing that occurs to me is mites. Notes hand live make birds itchy. If she is scratching a lot those neck feathers can be lost to that.

    Do you know how to check for mites and lice?


    Yes those nasties can target just one bird in a flock.
     
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  5. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Crowing

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    Where on her neck is she missing feathers? I'm not sure she could reach a lot of her own neck.
     
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  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

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    I've cared for obsessive parrots that plucked themselves but they did it on their entire bodies, not the head or neck. That's how we knew that it wasn't their mate doing so.
    Have you observed any plucking by other birds?
    To answer your question, they may but perhaps it is a dietary condition.
    What are they fed? I mean everything.
     
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  7. Thiccen

    Thiccen Hatching

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    Shes bald on her entire neck nowhere else and doesn't scratch too much they eat high protein lay crumble from merdochs. How should i check for the mites? Also if i got a plucking collar would it help stop the bullying?
     
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  8. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Crowing

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    To check for mites, physically capture the hen and inspect her for mites on her skin or at the base of her feathers. A magnifying glass could help.
     
  9. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Addict

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    The easiest way to catch them is at night when they are sleeping.
    A headlamp is really helpful.
    Part the feathers all the way to the skin checking around the vent, under wings and at the base of the neck.

    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ig140

    https://the-chicken-chick.com/poultry-lice-and-mites-identification/

    A couple very helpful links.
     
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