Missing feathers on the neck

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by codowd, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. codowd

    codowd Hatching

    Sep 9, 2009
    My hen had some feathers missing on her neck a few months ago.
    I noticed today that more feathers are missing.
    There are no signs of scratches, blood, etc. THee is no rooster either.
    She is very healthy otherwise.

    Can someone tell me why she woul be losing feathers on her neck?
  2. calicokat

    calicokat Songster

    Apr 2, 2009
    azalia, indiana
    Is it on the back of her neck? I have one that I just noticed has lots of feathers missing from the back of her neck, and we also have no roo behavior going on (they are too young still) so I'm baffled by what is going on.

    Waiting with you to hear from the exprienced folks [​IMG]
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing 8 Years

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I too have one with a patch out of her neck, you can only see it if she holds her head just so. Molting? I do have a rooster, but never seen him near her, she has chicks and is a bit defensive. But I am seeing lots of feathers around, so I think they are starting to molt, but no bald spots yet.
  4. calicokat

    calicokat Songster

    Apr 2, 2009
    azalia, indiana
    My hen in question is also brooding three chicks, but I really don't think that would be related to the missing feathers on her neck. I'm not sure she could even reach there!

    And yes, just like yours Mrs. K, it is really only noticeable if she stands up tall and extends her neck -- then it looks like a hole in the back of her neck, till you realize it's just missing all the feathers there.

    Will all the hens molt each year? Somehow I had the impression it was a big molt every other year (but I once thought all orange tiger cats were males too . . . . till my guy had 5 babies, so I"m not the most realiable source, LOL)
  5. luvchicks8

    luvchicks8 Songster

    Jul 1, 2009
    new Hampshire
    mine are molting and missing neck feathers [​IMG]
  6. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    If you watch pecking order squabbles, that's often where the dominant chicken pecks the subordinate one in those instances where the subordinate doesn't have a chance to get away, right on the back of the neck.

    You may have pecking order problems in your flock. One simple thing you can do is set up baffles for subordinate birds to hide behind and get out of sight from the dominant hen. Anything vertical will work, even a box. Keep an eye on the bullied birds to make sure they're able to eat and drink and are not being harassed away from their food and water, too. Sometimes setting up a second food and water station at the opposite end of the run solves this problem.
  7. stevin

    stevin Songster

    Sep 11, 2009
    Dartmouth, Ma
    yesterday i noticed the same thing on my rooster...
    when i took a closer look i also noticed a bunch of new 1/2" - 3/4" feather shoots(not sure if thats what it's actually called). coming in on the side & back of his neck.
    so maybe he's going thru a molt? he's 5 months old....
  8. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Quote:You're right, that's evidence of molt. The shafts of the new feathers growing in are covered with a papery sort of covering that drops off when the feathers are finished growing in. They're called pin feathers, I think.

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