Feather loss & Soft eggs?


In the Brooder
Sep 24, 2019
First off this is my first set of chickens I've owned so please don't give me too much grief I'm trying to learn! Thank you in advance!

Information on the chickens, They are approximately 1 1/2 year old, free range, on pellets for free range laying hens, big coop, they get scratch feed, fruits, vegetables, etc., They have toys including a swing in their coop, I own 4 of them and I get 3-5 eggs. Yes one does lay and extra egg on occasion, yes it is from my chickens, and they have access to oyster shells and grit.

So awhile ago I posted how my hens were fighting, upon further research I think it was just feather plucking that got really bad over winter. They mainly have to be inside in the winter due to temperatures regularly being -20 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. I also believe they had lice or mites. We don't have any poultry vets here so I managed to get ahold of one from a different area and he gave me the dosages for pour on ivermectin after no luck with DE etc. (This was reccomended by a vet!! I don't need the opinions on ivermection for chickens.!) The lice/mites have cleared but my chickens are still left with missing feathers and still plucking each others feathers. Chicken saddles are no longer an option as we are currently at 90 degrees regularly and i don't want one to get hung up on a tree or anything while out playing in the woods.

Now for the past month or so they have been laying pretty regularly however one of them (not sure what one) will pass a soft egg maybe 2x a month. But other than that completely normal.

It is 100% impossible for me to get a vet out here, I have tried everyone and nobody is close enough to be willing to come out. Basically I need to know if this is a bigger issue than just feather plucking or if it is just feather plucking how to stop the behavior. I will put some pictures ignore all the corn in it that's not regular but I had to bribe them to come in early. Thank you to everyone again.

Yes they look awful, yes I feel terrible, I'm trying my best. Any opinions on what's going on is greatly appreciated.



BYC Staff
Project Manager
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Jun 24, 2012
The Golden State
To help with the soft-shelled egg problem I think I would stop feeding the corn and stick with just layer pellets and oyster shell on the side.


In the Brooder
Mar 23, 2020
I’ve read that Vaseline is safe for chickens. Maybe apply a thin layer on that red spot a couple times a day? It looks like self inflicted to me, maybe ur chicken keeps pecking at it cuz it’s sore or itchy. It seems like drs are prescribing Vaseline for minor wound care now instead of other medicated ointments. I don’t know but that’s what I would try.
Dec 8, 2019
Valencia County, New Mexico
It sounds like a calcium deficiency to me, but it shouldn’t be since there is oyster shell. I would stop feeding the scratch and feed layer pellets for stronger eggs. They are plucking their feathers for calcium. If I’m wrong someone please correct me because I’m no expert.

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