Naked Bums = mites???


10 Years
Apr 30, 2009
Central Massachusetts
I have four Buff Orpington hens who will be two on Sunday. For a while, I've been noticing that a couple had some feathers missing below their vent area, but I really didn't give it much thought. The other night while they were roaming the yard, I noticed that three have this, and one of the three looks quite red. Does this sound like it could be mites? I don't suspect that the fourth one is pecking, because they've all always gotten along, and I believe the 4th one is pretty low on the pecking order.

I know the basic questions that will help, so here's their stats:

They eat a good-quality balanced layer feed (Blue Seal), they get table scraps of meat and veggies at least once a week, they get let out several hours a week to forage in the leaves or lawn for bugs.

They get a small cup (you know the paper bathroom-sized cups? 3 oz I think) of scratch every morning. (One cup split among 4 birds.)

They have free choice grit and oyster shells.

Coop is 3'x6' 18 sq ft. with an attached enclosed run with 48 sq ft.

Everyone has always gotten along.

Laying has been pretty crappy lately... but we've also gotten into some nasty heat this week.

The coop does need to be cleaned, I plan on doing that this weekend hopefully. I use the deep litter method with pine shavings.

Does it sound like this can be mites? I can't see anything actually on them, but I don't know how visible mites are to the naked eye.

What's the best treatment course for this? Can someone instruct me on what to buy and how to do it? I know it's probably a powder... should I dust the chickens with it while they are out, and then what should I do to clean the coop? Will removing the old shavings and doing a good sweep-out be enough?

They don't have to peck feathers because they are mean or don't get along, boredom, needing extra protein are a few other reasons and yes mites too. Go out at night with a flash light into your coop and look at the girls feet and your roosts you might get a chance to see mites if thats what it is. if you have mites you'll need to clean all the old bedding out, put it into compost and treat it also, then using either sevin spray or dust, dust the entire coop floor to ceiling, making sure to get into all cracks and crevices. I like to use the spray because I feel I can do it better with it. Open all windows and doors to make sure it's dry before letting the birds back in. Then you will need to do it again in about 1 week to 10 days to make sure you get the ones that hatch. so don't put much bedding in till second treatment. Then treat your girls, with with sevin, poultry dust or Epernix pour-on, I like Epernix because I usually end up with more dust on me than them, but it's your prefrence. but you use Epernix like frontline right a base of neck on the back. and there is no egg withdrawl. then treat again in 7 to 10 days also. plus Epernix will also treat for worms. now if possibly the hen without any feathers missing is doing the pecking, then I would say up their protein intake some, and also spray their bums with Blue-kote to disguise the area, might want to feed some extra canned cat food very good quality, salmon or other protein packed food, so hope I didn't over load you, just wanted to give you so options, let us know what you find out.
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I have had the same problem and in my instance it was due to feather plucking. It took a while to see it happen, but then I did while they were roosting one would be facing the opposite direction of the other and reach over and make a meal of the others butt feathers. The red skin on my hens seems to come and go all day long, not sure but I get the feeling the color of her skin may have to do with her body temperture/mood. May sound crazy, but like you I thought the skin was red raw but I see it look like normal chicken skin then five minutes later it is bright red and sore looking. Look for lice/mites on them and dust if you see them. I have dusted mine and have had no resolution because I have a serious feather plucker in the group. I have seen new feathers start to grow bad get hopefull, keep them separated and in one day all the new feathers will be gone
^ Good info! I'm doing this with my coop as I move the ladies outside.

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