Hen defeathering self

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MoSo, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. MoSo

    MoSo In the Wild Plum Yonder

    I have a Naked Butt Barred Rock - she's defeathering herself to line the nest box (her favored nest box is full of her distinctive feathers) and she's 2nd of 5 in the pecking order, so I'm pretty sure it's not the other chickens. I've tried adding material to her favorite nest box (straw, shavings, timothy hay, rice hulls, shredded newspaper) but she just pushes it away.

    [​IMG]


    The bare area extends all the way around her tail in a circle. What I'm afraid of is that the other chickens will start to peck at that bare area. I checked her very carefully for mites or bugs and didn't find any, but I did find a small scab, where she - or one of the other chickens - pecked hard enough to draw blood.
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Usually they pick breast feathers to line nest, but perhaps she is also being picked around her tail preventing pin feathers from ever getting established. It's also the time of year where many start to moult, so that may be adding to the issue. Pin feathers taste good to each other. May try a saddle, increasing protein, and hot peck on the area being picked clean.
     
  3. ZaneyMama

    ZaneyMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    I have 2 hens also bald in a similar area. It's only on the top of the tail area. What's that all about?

    [​IMG]
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Oh, another note, that area is often rubbed down by roosters mating , and easily picked at by other birds if the one behind wants the one in front to move.
     
  5. ZaneyMama

    ZaneyMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    I'm not sure about MoSo, but we don't have any roosters. Only our two EE's are bald like that above their tail.
     
  6. MoSo

    MoSo In the Wild Plum Yonder

    Yep, no roosters here either. The Barred Rock is the worst, but I do have an EE that is missing several feathers right at the base of her tail - just down showing, like the picture someone else posted above.
     

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