Feather loss


In the Brooder
12 Years
Nov 17, 2007
Have 3 hens. 2 of them Rhode Island Reds are losing feathers off the back by the tail leaving bare spot the size of a navel orange. One of them also losing feathers between legs and business area.

Don't semm to have predators now but did have a rat of 2 and they're RIP.
* O.k.- no roo, soooo- It could be lice, picking, or molting maybe. . . How old are your hens? Pen or free-range? Have you seen any picking or scratching going on? What are your girls eating? ed: oh, any unusual stressors lately? Noise, kids, dog threats, building, etc.
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Maybe lice but 3rd chciken is fine.

Quite here so nothing upsets them.

Molting maybe but I never seen it happen so I'm at a loss there.

I ruled out picking when the one showed up with the feathers missing between the legs.

Eating laying mash, scratch, noodles, lettuce, cabbage etc. Have good appetites.

Hens are about 11 months old.
Maybe but too early to tell.

I read where rats take feathers for their nest.
The missing feathers were no where to be found in Chickenville.

Noticed 2" diameter holes near the coop so I shoved rat poison down them. Poison was consumed and rats, though I never actually saw any, are dead. I collapsed and filled the holes and tunnels.

Feathers seem to be growing back, but it is sure a slow process.

Thanks for your concern.
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I spose it makes sense... when my pet rat would build a nest she would gather some things over others...and even if I took them and put them back (she had free range of my room and had a nest in the side of my mattress.... you could look in and see it. I was 11 LOL) she would go and get them again and add them back to her nest. So I imagine that they could possibly have a preference for a certain bird or birds and maybe just be well-fed enough to leave the chickens alone otherwise. Like foxes and rabbits using the same burrows.
I pitched the roof on the nests at a 45 degree angle to discourage the birds from roosting there. They still did, so I put a piece of loose fitting plywood to cover the access.

I caught my Buff roosting on top of the plywood's edge, near the coop's roof.

I imagine that's how she escaped the plucking.

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