Feathers plucked, broken skin.


In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 19, 2013
NSW, Australia
One of my hens has been plucked in a small area on her back a couple of days ago, and the skin has turned a purple colour. I'm not sure if this is a sign or healing or if it's getting worse. We've been putting antiseptic cream on it to stop infection but I'm not sure if it's working.

There isn't much else we can do as we don't have access to anything else to help it heal and when we separate her to keep her away from the other hens, she escapes and ends up back with them anyhow. I will be able to get a picture up tomorrow.

Is there anything else I can do? When we put the cream on her, the other hens seem to leave her alone because it's strong smelling and they find the stickiness unpleasant but I'm afraid that the main culprit of the plucking might move onto other areas of her body or onto the other hens.

Any advice would be well appreciated, thanks!
Do you have Blu Kote? If the skin is (relatively) intact I recommend swabbing it to hide the skin color. Really need to find who is pecking her, or if you have a rooster she may be his favorite - still woud use the Blu Kote, though. I've seen 'saddle pad' gizmos for hen protection, don't use them myself.
We don't have blue kote, it isn't readily available in my area and it would be expensive and take a long time to get here :/ otherwise I would love to be using it

I'm more concerned though that the skin is already a purple colour without the use of any purple coloured treatment.
Sounds like you have a bully on your hands. Do you have a rooster? If not, it sounds like one (or more) of the other hens are pecking her, pulling feathers, and then pecking more. The purple sounds like a bruise, not a wound, so no worries about infection. The purple will change to green as it heals. My advice is to figure out who's bullying her, and isolate the bully for a few days to a week. Then reintroduce the bully (or bullies); hopefully they will have lost their position in the pecking order.
Yeah I think the purple is a bruise, it's lighter today and has gone green! So that's good. I don't think the skin has been picked at today as it all looks fairly intact. Also, as far as I know, we don't have a type of blue kote here, at least not in my area.

I know who the bully is, but the issue is we have nowhere to separate her to. In order to separate her we need another place for her to sleep and we currently don't have one available. So I'm not too sure what to do in that regard. It's easy to know which one is the bully, she's the only one with basically perfect feathers. But yeah I don't know how to separate her properly. Some days are worse than others, I think today hasn't been too back because it's been raining and they're more preoccupied with that than with pecking at the skin on the injured hen, and as they came from production farms their beaks have all been clipped so not a lot of damage occurs. The bully does peck at the other two as well but so far not much in the way of bruising has occurred. The injured one is naturally at the bottom of the pecking order.

I think I'll just observe them over the next day or two before trying to remove the culprit, because it might take me that amount of time to find a place to house her while the rest establish a new pecking order.

Thanks for the replies!
Separating her may be as simple as wiring off a tiny corner of the pen with its own food/water, pole-thru-the-wire, or a plastic dog kennel, or any large cage/container that would hold her for several nights. Mine free-range so I've only had the rooster-abuse issue. Good luck.
I'm thinking of doing that, sectioning a bit off with some wire and putting a dog carrier in the section for her to sleep. I may need to wait until the bad weather dies down however

Thanks :)
I've used a wire dog crate within the coop before, with some success. That way, she's still in the coop and can see the others, but can't peck them. That might not work if your coop is really small, though.

Speaking of which, how big is your coop? Do you let them out to free range at all? If not, the solution may be as simple as making your coop bigger or letting them out more.

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