Injury? Self-inflicted? Something more?


Aug 24, 2020

I'm attaching some photos of my 10 month old EE Bambi (sorry, she has a piece of corn up there lol) I hatched her and her siblings and they're in a 9x4.5 foot coop/run. They also free-range under supervision. In total its 1 roo with 9 hens. They eat Purina layena daily as well as a bit of scratch towards the end of the day.

A few weeks ago I noticed a bit of a bald spot on her back and it's only grown since then. She's never been picked on by the others and I know the rooster mates with her as he does with all the others but the balding is on her lower back while her neck looks fine. Im not quite sure what is causing it, im worried she could be doing it to herself just because of the placement but I couldnt find any leads online. She's calm, lays regularly, seems to fall in the center of the pack hierarchy (sleeps on the highest perch with the male and a few others). Im just pretty lost with this. Thank you in advance.
That is rooster damage. She may be a favorite due to being more submissive. They lose feathers here from his feet hanging on, they sometimes lose feathers on the back of the head from his beak hanging on. I also think you need more room for them. Minimum recommendations are 2 - 3 square feet per bird in the coop and 8 - 10 square feet in the run. If birds free range most of the day then those numbers can be smaller sometimes and work. But generally more is better, smaller usually causes problems. What the birds really need is determined by behavior. Hens will do better with a roo when they have the opportunity to get away if they want to. Some roo's are rough and most cockerels, which is what yours is, are hormonal guys that have no manners or technique yet. Males below a year old are cockerels. If necessary you can use a hen saddle/apron to protect the back, most birds tolerate them well after they adjust to them.
I also would recommend that, since you have a cockerel/roo, rather than feeding layer feed you switch to a flock raiser or all flock type feed and provide oyster shell in a separate feeder all the time for calcium for the hens that need it. They will take what they need. You can also save and recyle your egg shells by adding them to the oyster shell, I grind them up in a food processor. Your cockerel does not need the extra calcium in the layer feed and it can cause problems down the road for some birds. Kidney problems and gout.
I second mating damage. I've honestly had a hen look MUCH worse than that, her whole lower back was bald, but she seemed fine with it & had all the room in the world to get away from him (free range). I never saw any bleeding and her mate was a seasoned roo not a cockrell. I decided to let it go, just kept a loose eye on her. I was honestly mostly concerned about sunburn? It sounds silly but obviously the skin there isnt used to being exposed so that was my biggest concern. But we have a ridiculous amount of tree cover so I ultimately just let them do their thing. Not saying this is the right path; I'm definitely more hands off than a lot of other BYCers. I didnt want to climb a tree or chase her down to catch her. :lol:
Thank you! Yes they do free range often so I dont usually see much chasing around. The cockerel is the same age as the others. Will it get better with time?
Shes not the favorite or even second favorite but I guess could be more on the submissive side. I do plan on switching to a flock but have had VERY little luck finding it for a decent price nearby. I also wasn't sure what would stop the male from getting into the calcium bowl like the others??
She definitely still acts perfectly fine. We've had a lot of rain for 2 weeks so it looks super muddy inside but when I put in fresh grass and pebbles, they go crazy entertained for like 4 days haha. I will look into an apron thingy for her, I've seen them before. Thanks again and take care.
The cockerels won't eat the oyster shell, their bodies don't need it. They may pick at it at first out of curiosity, then ignore it. Some cockerels will calm down as they mature, every one is different. If you can't find a flock raiser then an 18% starter/grower is a decent substitution, that is what I get when the flock raiser is out of stock. Some roo's/cockerels can leave them looking pretty ratty over time. It's a good idea to monitor spur growth and trim as necessary as they grow. Long spurs can result in injury to your hens, particularly if you have a rough roo. I blunt mine with large dog clippers. Lots of sources on line for the various ways to trim spurs.

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