Hen is a butt picker...


12 Years
May 30, 2009
Central Coast, California
We have a hen in our flock of 4 who picks at the bottoms of the other hens. She sneaks up from behind to do this and tries to pluck out the feathers from the other hens' bottoms.

She pecks/plucks and runs. She seems very aggressive about this except for the fact that she is at the bottom of the pecking order -- so is chased off by the picked-at hen when she is caught.

Has anyone seen this behavior before? What could be causing it or why would she do this? I have seen her her picking up feathers in the coop and eating them.

She is fed the exact same diet as the other hens which is scratch and layer pellets. Our hens are all 20 weeks old, except for her -- she is about 16 weeks old and barely noticeably smaller than the others due to her age. None are laying yet.

I had one that did that, but was only about 12 weeks old. I put her in chicken jail for a couple days and it stopped. I kept her in a cage inside the coop and run, where they could all see each other.
You really need to watchout cuz if they taste blood it can really become a problem.I had 3 rhodie/new hampshire x's that got 4 birds bad.It was mainly 2 Polish boys,D'Uccle and a Favrolle all very docile birds.We got rid of the 3 asap! Chickens do have canibal tendencies,some will stop others won't.My poor boys look awful now until they molt and get their tails back and get random pecks from almost everyone now.

I have found that if chickens food is all and only in the feeder... then the chickens run around a "peck" each other. soooooo

I do throw feed on the ground for them to scratch for as well. This almost completely stops any pecking. If pecking does start. I apply blue coat. I have seen cases where there is ONE hen/chick and the others want to kill it no matter what... there must be something wrong with it. So try spreading some treats on the ground and see if this helps.. good luck
It`s a bad habit and could cost the life of a hen. To stop it, get some anti peck spray in the bird section of your PET STORE. I have a 4 ounce bottle that is still half full after 8 years. Supposed to taste like sour apples and it works. Since you only have a few hens, spray their butts while they are on the roost at night. Easy to apply and not messy. Works on any bird.......Pop
I read that sunflower seeds was supposed to help with the feather eating due to lack of calcium but it don't they still pluck it and eat it.
I also read on here about spraying them with iodine to stop picking. I think it helped a bit but mix it with water cuz it is posion in a large amount. Since those birds are gone no more damage like that has happened.Sometimes I hate some of our birds and we do need to downsize as well.I'm waiting for our Poultry leader to look 'em over first for 4H,then some will be leaving forsure which hopefully will help all that. The poor Polish and Favrolles are just to calm I guess.

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