HELP feather picking? Molt? Parasites??!


In the Brooder
5 Years
Feb 28, 2014
Southwest Virginia
this is my first flock and they were born between March 19 and April?? I noticed today that 5 out of the 8 hens have NO feathers on their stomachs!! Their skin is white not red and otherwise they seem fine. What's happening?!?!
Have you checked them for lice and mites? For lice, look around their vent. For mites, you need to visit your coop at night, as they only come out at night.

Any pin feathers, or just bare skin?
No evidence of either that I've seen. There are some pin feathers. The skin is not inflamed at all and I noticed today that it's actually happening in the same on all of the hens just more noticeable on some than others...
Where exactly is the feather loss? Not sure what you are calling the belly. If on behinds/butts, may be feather pulling. If on breasts, that would be unusual at their age, usually means broody and pulling own feathers.

Best picture I could get from one of the birds. On the left of the photo is part of back leg.

Best picture I could get from one of the birds. On the left of the photo is part of back leg.
This is what I would call stomach/belly..examine the base of the foreword feather quills and make sure they don't look like lice eggs. Doubt this is feather pecking or self pecking.
I call this the butt AKA bum …and have experience with this. Worried me tremendously until I found my answer.

According to the Chicken Health for Dummies book the most probable cause of vent area feather loss is pecking by flock mates.

If all of yours have this, then there's more than one doing it. But look for who still has a fluffy bottom and bet they are the feather pecker. If the feather follicles are intact, they'll get new fluff when they molt...


Last year, 5 of my 6 hens got bare bottoms, started where yours has and most also lost feathers around the vents. This occurred not long after they all started laying eggs. None had lice, no mites, but I treated them anyway. I searched for answers and advice everywhere. There are a lot of folks who see the same thing, and many have different opinions. But all evidence kept pointing to a feather pecker.

When my hens started molting last month, I was so excited to see new feather growth on behinds. And that's when I saw the only one who never lost her big fluffy butt pecking the other's new quills and feathers. She is not aggressive, just does it. Mystery for me was solved.

Most will tell you feather pecking is due to stress or over crowding, but I doubled my coop/run space this year, they have a luxury of space. They are very happy, spoiled hens. The don't fight unless one is broody, and get along well. Guess my Big Buff just likes to pull feathers.

Hope this helps.

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