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Feathers Missing

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by danielkbrantley, Jan 16, 2017.

  1. danielkbrantley

    danielkbrantley Chirping

    Jul 9, 2011
    Cleveland, Tennessee
    I've got a mixed flock with a rooster who recently came to maturity. That said, since then, one of my hens has wound up missing a lot of feathers on her back. I say it's because she gets chosen more than the other ladies (there are 9 hens total and 1 rooster). My wife fears it's mites. If one hen has mites, wouldn't others have them as well?

    What I'm wondering is - is this likely from being the rooster's favorite or from something else?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. shortgrass

    shortgrass Crowing

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    Yes, I would say your rooster has a favorite hen. ;)

    Sometimes it's the lead hen, other times its the most docile one.. Who knows why they actually seem to favor one hen, but sometimes it's also because the HEN prefers HIM; ie she's willing and able to maybe have some babies ha-ha ;)

    Usually it's on the back right next to the wings, and the neck area takes some abuse as well. Some owners use a "saddle" to protect their feathers, but unless you're finding the loss of feathers unappealing, it won't harm her for the time being.

    Do watch him, though, young cockerels can be especially rough until they learn how to be more gentlemanly :D
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Could be that pullet/hen has brittle feathers too.
    How old are these birds?
    Spring is in the air, hormones are surging.
    Make sure they have plenty of space, with places to 'get away'.

    Sometimes one bird will have more of a parasite problem than others,
    best to check regularly to rule it out.
    Best done well after dark with a strong flashlight/headlight, easier to 'catch' bird and also to check for the mites that live in structure and only come out at night to feed off roosting birds.
    Wipe a white paper towel along the underside of roost to look for red smears(smashed well fed mites).
    Part the feathers right down to the skin around vent, head/neck and under wings.
    Google images of lice/mites and their eggs before the inspection so you'll know what you're looking for.
    If you do find bugs:
  4. danielkbrantley

    danielkbrantley Chirping

    Jul 9, 2011
    Cleveland, Tennessee
    Thanks to both of you! The one that is losing feathers also has a bum foot. It's never affected her mobility that I've noticed, but I'm not a rooster chasing after her. Hahahaha...

    And will indeed investigate for mites!

    All the best...

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