Hens losing feathers above tail, not roosters

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by crabby chickens, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. crabby chickens

    crabby chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2012
    Paso Robles, CA
    We have 15 hens 23 weeks old, no rooster, they are laying well and appear healthy and happy. Some of them are rapidly losing feathers on their back at the base of their tail. We have seen no pecking and we don't think we see mites or lice. I have seen some crusty type skin in a few areas. Does anyone know what this is? Thank you
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I promise you they peck each other -- it may not be really hard or cause injuries, but this is just what chickens do. The feather loss is usually from their picking or pulling each others' feathers, often eating them. Probably the main causes are too little protein and too little space / boredom. It can be a difficult habit to break if well established. Lots of threads on here about feather picking, including these from the FAQ page:

    My chickens are pecking/eating each other's feathers:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=34705
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=31291
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=36139
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=30486

    You also may have a hen who has taken over the rooster's dominant role, and stands on others' backs as an act of dominance.
     

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