Molting and mating concerns!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Our Roost, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Our Roost

    Our Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have some hens that have had no feathers on the middle of their backs since the rooster began his mating rituals. I know some of this is due to molting and most of it due to our roosters constant mating with them. Not all of our birds have this problem. I think he has these chosen favorites that he frequents on a regular basis. I dont see any signs of new feathers replacing the old ones. I am beginning to belive that as long as I have a rooster in the house, these birds will never get their feathers back! I had plans to show 2 of these girls this summer and I dont think that is going to happen. This is our first year and winter with birds and we dont know much about molting and mating. Are their backs common to bare spots during molting, or is it the roosters mating that is causing this? Can we ever expect these birds to get their feathers back?
     
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  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    This is a fairly common problem. Usually the feathers won't grow back til after a molt. A lot of people keep "saddles" or "aprons" on the hens who get overmated. I did this when I had a rooster. For showing, which I've never done, you would probably have to separate the roo. Sometimes other hens will also peck or feather pick the bare back ones. The area is also subject to sunburn.

    You can find saddles for sale in our BST section, or probably from some hatcheries or chicken equipment dealers. I made my own. Here's one link, just to give you an idea:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/patterns-chicken-saddles
     
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  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    How many hens and how many roos, and how much space? In my opinion, if you have more than 1 or 2 hens with bare backs it's a management issue and you need to adjust your numbers or space.
     
  4. Our Roost

    Our Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well donrae, 19 hens and one roo. 8ft.x16ft.x 8ft. ceiling. are the coop dimensions with same sized roofed florida room or predator protection room attached. Plus there is a run that is 30 x 55ft. Space is definitely not an issue! Trust that they live in the taj mahal of chicken coops.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Okay, so first, check for mites. After that, I'd seperate the bare hens to allow the feathers to grow back. Once they grow back, re-indroduce to the flock. If the roo overmates them again to this point, you need to decide if you want to keep that rooster or replace him with one who shares the love more. Some folks on here do the aprons, etc, but that's never been my thing. When I've had a roo that just wouldn't leave a specific hen alone, he got invited to dinner. With your ratio and space it's not normal to have bare backed hens.
     
  6. Our Roost

    Our Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 13, 2011
    ScottsVille, michigan
    Thanks all! I Think I have gathered enough information and responses on the subject to handle the concern. Much appreciated!
     

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