Irritated skin, missing feathers...?? With pics.


Sep 19, 2017
Hi all

Hoping you guys have some advice. I have 3 chooks who all seem healthy - laying 3 eggs/day, bright and perky, eating well, interactive. 2 have beautiful feathers, but one has been looking more and more scrappy over the last few months. The majority of the feathers on her underside are missing, also under her wings and on her breastbone. Her skin is red and raw. No bleeding.

She's totally eating normally, poos look normal, laying normally, affect is normal. There are no mites or lice on her or in the coop.

Is this a self harm behavior? Ive never seen her pluck her own feathers or seen another chook bully her but the feathers must be going somewhere. Am I missing something obvious??


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Isn't it Amazing?
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
May 7, 2012
Sonoma County, CA
There are feather mites affecting chickens that are very hard to detect. Quill mites live inside the feather shaft. I had a hen suffer from weak, broken feathers where just the shaft was left for over a year. I never saw a single mite on her. It was not after she died that I found out about quill mites.
The other type of feather mites are depluming mites. This may be what your hen has based on descriptions I've read where the irritation causes a bird to pull her own feathers. These mites also burrow into the skin which could explain the redness.
I don't know for sure, but would suggest you research into the possibility of depluming mites and how to treat them. Other than that, I cannot think of anything to fit the symptoms.
Hopefully someone will have another (easier) solution for you.


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
It looks at though she is moulting. Are you sure that she is still laying? If not moulting, then I would say it is festher picking from another hen. Do they have plenty of room, get outside to roam daily, and what type of feed do they eat?

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