Hens losing feathers in their saddle area


Dec 8, 2020
South Carolina
Hey! I have two hens (about 1.5 yrs old) that both have no feathers in a little patch over/on their saddle area, where the back meets the tail. I’ve tried doing research but haven’t found anything very specific, and I didn’t see any bugs or anything like that (though I didn’t do a SUPER thorough check). It’s been very sunny lately and my girls hang out in the sunny area of their run a lot (sunbathing, dustbathing, etc) and now their skin in that area is very red on one and lighter red/pink on the other. I’m not sure why they’ve lost feathers there, and I’m pretty certain it’s NOT due to pecking order, as the hen lowest in the pecking order (who is regularly out in her place) has very healthy feathers all over. I also do not have a rooster, so it would not be due to mating. Thank you for anyone who reads this/replies!! Have a nice day!
Photos might help:frow

Feather loss in the saddle area, if you have no rooster, it's likely from picking.
Observe during roosting time, you may find the offender...your pristine Gal is the likely culprit.
Photos might help.
I’ve got some photos of both of them.



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I’ve checked multiple times over the last week for lice/mites, and I’ve tried to observe and catch any picking (and I’ve watched at roosting time, too). No lice or mites seem to be present (I inspected all my chickens and the coop at night). I’ve not seen any picking either, which is really strange because I would’ve thought that would be it. I can see the run from my house and sometimes I look out to just observe a bit and still no picking. I took a picture of my ISA brown hen, and her back is looking worse than before. Her feathers won’t grow back (because of pinfeather picking??) and there’s a strange bump (irritated/inflamed hair follicle?) and I’m not sure what could be wrong. I don’t think it’s some sort of cutaneous form of Marek’s or other disease because it’s super inconsistent and there are no behavioral symptoms like appetite loss, egg production dropping, or lower activity levels.
Oh wait a second— I was going to show the picture I got of the bump. Here it is…View attachment 3166791Those black things are pin feathers (as far as I can tell).
Probably an impacted feather follicle.

The black things are intact feather shafts, those will be pushed out replaced once she molts. These are the result of feathers being broken, leaving the shaft in place.

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