Feather loss and red skin

BirdNerdSophie

Chirping
May 5, 2017
23
4
54
Surrey, UK.
Hi there,

I have three light sussex hens which live with 11 other chickens and two cockerels in a big free range enclosure. They are all around 18 months old and haven't had any problems up until the beginning of this year. All three of them have developed feather loss around the back end and underneath their body which has now become bright red and a little swollen. None of the other hens have developed this. They were treated for mites and lice as a precaution. Has anyone experienced anything like this or have any idea what might be wrong?

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oldhenlikesdogs

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jul 16, 2015
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To me that looks like they are being feather picked. Are they low on the pecking order? What are you feeding your birds?

I have a bottom bird with a bare bum too from over mating. I got rid of one rooster and locked one up and now she's doing better. You may also have one too many roosters and they are being over mated.

Quietly observing your flock might help determine which is going on.
 

Kassaundra

Sonic screwdrivers are cool!
9 Years
Sep 1, 2010
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Henryetta
All exposed skin becomes red in chickens in the presence of hormones (laying hens and roosters will get brighter red b/c of more hormones) The red color is completely normal in areas w/o feathers, but as to why they are losing feathers I don't know.
 

BirdNerdSophie

Chirping
May 5, 2017
23
4
54
Surrey, UK.
To me that looks like they are being feather picked. Are they low on the pecking order? What are you feeding your birds?

I have a bottom bird with a bare bum too from over mating. I got rid of one rooster and locked one up and now she's doing better. You may also have one too many roosters and they are being over mated.

Quietly observing your flock might help determine which is going on.


It is hard to tell if they are lower on the pecking order - I've not seen the other girls picking on them (or each other for the matter) whenever I am around.

In terms of over mating, our light sussex cockrel seems to be the lowest on the pecking order out of the 16 birds and the other is just a little bigger than the size of a serama and mostly keeps to himself so I don;t think they are the issue.

I did think it as feather picking too but I don't know what I can do to stop it as they have lots of space and things to do.

In terms of their food, they get a high quality layers pellet 16% protein.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jul 16, 2015
46,712
84,400
1,522
Wisconsin
You could try switching to a higher protein feed, something with 18-22% protein, especially if your chickens are getting any extras that might dilute the daily protein intake.

Another thing to look at is your roosts, they could be getting pecked at from below while roosting.
 

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