Feathers Missing


In the Brooder
Apr 22, 2019
I have had an issue going on in the flock for several months now where some of the younger hens are missing a tremendous amount of feathers on their saddle area and some on the wing stubs. See pictures. That is Blu Kote applied since it is bare skin.

  • There are 14 hens
  • We have a single 1 year old rooster
  • There is ample roosting space (probably 16 total linear feet) inside the coop
  • The coop itself is 6 X 8 X 6' tall and well ventilated, dry, not drafty.
  • They have access to a ton of sand for baths
  • I have seen zero evidence of mites or other pests
  • Definitely doesn't seem like molt
  • There is not a large amount of feathers in the coop. There are feathers outside but who knows how much is normal?
I am unsure if this is due to pecking (and eating) or rooster damage or what. Whatever is going on has not led to any cannibalism, it has stopped when there are no more feathers in the effected area. The older hens aren't missing any feathers. I haven't seen the amount of pecking that would ever do that much damage but who knows. I think the hen to rooster ratio seems fine, but am open to the experts to send me down the right path. I have not been able to isolate the rooster yet as I have pullets being raised in a separate coop, and they aren't ready for introduction to the flock yet.

I think that is it - let me know if you need more info.


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Probably rooster damage, A little while ago I put some new hens in a flock of one rooster and several other hens- he tore up the newest hens but left his old ones alone- maybe he’s thinks your new hens are a threat to his old ones?
Thank you both - I have been going back and forth between rooster damage or plain feather picking/eating. Both seemed equally plausible to the point of going either way. I feed them sufficient meal worm snacks so I don't think they are protein deficient to that extent. Their layer feed is good quality.

What's funny is the rooster grew up with the hens the damage is on from a chick lol. He must just go after them.
I am having the same problem I have 12 hens but the Russian orloffs are the only ones having their back feather pulled out/missing. I they were growing back the last week or 2, but I noticed yesterday the new growth was being pulled out also. They are 12 weeks old, this has been going on for 8 weeks. Crazy how the other birds are not bothered. I was thinking a production blue has been pecking at them, I can't confirm. They are in a 8x12ft. cage, with 142sq.ft. of ground space to occupy. Crazy.

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