Missing Feathers and sores


In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 25, 2013
I bought 2 Plymoth Rock hens when they were about 1 year old (not sure exactly but they were egg-laying already) - and one had missing feathers near her tail and on the top of the wings. The farmer said it's normal and they will grow back. A few months ago, in the same places she lost many feathers and often it becomes sore and red. I looked through backyard chickens and looked at listed causes; pecking, diet, boredom, disease, bugs, etc.. and I couldn't determine exactly the cause so I tried to solve all of them. I have 2 hens who live in a coop + run, they have lots of space and I let them free range when I'm at home. But what makes me wonder that it's not one of the common causes, such as molting, she was like this when I got her last year.. it just wasn't so bad. Also, the other one, is perfectly healthy - so I ruled out diseases and bugs.. plus I keep it very clean. I have seen her pecking herself there.

My question is - is this something to worry about, can she just live without the feathers? I don't mind it, I just feel bad that maybe there is something I can do about it. I know this photo is not very clear but you can see the bald spot (right one). My friend teased me that she doesn't know she's bald :)

It sounds like she is just picking an open wound because it's open. She could enentually open the skin and cause an infection, or at least get sunburned. It may also be a temptation to the others to peck it as well. One thing you might try is one of the products for pecking that work by tasting bad, with names like NoPeck or Ick. Plain old pine tar (sold for horses, I think) has also been used for this, and is supposed to be fairly effective, but of course it is very messy.

It would be ideal to cover the area, but that might be an exercise in futility. SADDLES work well on wounds like thin on the back above the tail, a much more common site. I wouldn't put anything adhesive on the bare skin, though.

You may just find yourself keeping an eye on it and leaving it alone if it gets no worse. Mabe eventually after a molt it will fill in.

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