If not molting or broody then WHAT is going on here?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SeaChick, May 22, 2008.

  1. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    OK, so I picked up Olympia, my Black Australorp, today, and felt bare skin on her belly!!!! I turned her over and sure enough, there are two broad strips down her belly (on either side of the keel) that are pretty much bare.

    She looks great, glossy, full-feathered. You can't SEE this feather loss at all, unless you turn her over.

    My first thought was: beginning of a molt? But, I thought the head loses feathers first. Plus, she is just about exactly one year old and it is spring.

    Then I thought: maybe she is plucking herself because she is quasi-broody? (She has been sort of quasi-broody for a few weeks now. Sitting for longer than usual on the nest and puffing up and yelling if bothered.... BUT she has not taken it as far as REAL broodiness.) But wouldn't that be BREAST feathers she'd be plucking, not BELLY???

    Then I picked up my other 3 girls, to see if maybe it's normal and I just bever noticed it before. Well, 2 or the other 3 have a similar, although not quite so drastic, bare area. The last is totally feathered in the same area. Now, these other two hens have each -just once!- done the puff-up-screech thing to me when I checked under them in the nest box. Is it possible that they are all quasi-broody and plucking their bellies? But you see, it's UNDERNEATH their bodies.... is that what broodies do???

    There is no sign of mites or anything like that. They are all very healthy and glossy-feathered otherwise.

    What the heck is going on?

  2. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    [​IMG] My broody BO has all her feathers still under her..... (I know I had to clean her up after two eggs broke)
  3. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Hi Seachick - you're not alone. I posted on this exact same thing last week. One of my Black Sex Links that just turned one year old is completely bald on lower belly and between her legs. Never noticed it till I happened to pick her up. I didn't get any responses as to what could be going on. She doesn't seem broody and she has never molted. In fact, none of my dozen year olds have ever molted and I have three different breeds - never seen feather loss in any of them and this particular hen, like yours, has absolutely gorgeous feathers on her body.
  4. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Well thanks Ruth. That is just totally weird!!! What is going on?

    It's certainly no emergency, everyone seems fine, but it's just so weird! Hopefully someone will chime in with some clues for us!

  5. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Anybody else have any ideas about this??? If it's some sort of problem I would sure love to figure it out and fix it!

  6. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * Could be maybe a light/moderate molt. Mine hasn't done it full-tilt either. Just sorta random feathers a couple dozen at a time..Seemed like whatever weren't obviously wing feathers came from the belly.
    Last edited: May 24, 2008
  7. ratlummountain

    ratlummountain Songster

    Jul 18, 2007
    barkhamsted, CT
    i don't have any answers, but just wanted to say i've noticed the same exact thing on my 4 girls (2 RIR & 2 golden comets)

    bare belly's & bottoms.

    they're about a year old and have never molted before, and as far as i know they're not broody - they're not hanging out on the nest anyway.

    still getting regular egg production, and otherwise they're happy & healthy girls.

    i just figured it was some kind of qausi-molt.
    i'm heading down to the feed store today to pick up my 3 new chicks and i was going to ask them if they knew what was going on.
  8. pattycake

    pattycake Songster

    May 7, 2007
    fingerlakes, ny
    I posted the same thing a few weeks ago. It was one of my year-old Jersey Giants -- I picked her up and felt a bare belly. I thought she was becoming broody, but it hasn't happened. Maybe it would if I let her sit on her eggs -- she lets me take them, but she's always been a super sweet girl.

    Someone suggested mites?? But I checked mine carefully and didn't find a single bug.
  9. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Maybe when they turn a year old, in celebration of their birthday, they rip out their feathers and run through the coop yelling "I'm nekid and free and I love being nekid and free". [​IMG]

    Something I caught my daughter saying one day when she was four.
  10. nccountrygirl

    nccountrygirl Songster

    Jul 31, 2007
    Sanford N.C.

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