NAKED ROO syndrome - is there a way to keep em feathered?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Aug 19, 2010
central VA
I am having some serious problems with some seriously wonderful roosters! The hens strip them of feathers!

First was my Serama roo. He was with one hen and she started literally pulling him off his feet plucking out his feathers. So he lives away from all women these days (except me).

The second roo is a nice big white roo (that belonged to my neighbor) and he is just the finest flock protector, and so attentive to the hens! He is friendly and respectful, but very manly. But I have had to rescue him so he'll survive the winter because the hens ate him down to barely a light covering on his back of mangled feathers. Bright pink skin and he looked pathetic! I've had him 2 weeks and his feathers are coming in very nicely, and I've built him a new home with heat lamp for the coming chilly months till he gets his feathers back in. He is now living with the goats and sheep, and surprisingly - he LOVES them!

To replace roo #2 I found a gorgeous Araucana roo who was with 20 hens and a wonderful gentleman. He's 3 years old. My neighbor got 50 new pullets (18 weeks old) today and I put the new roo in with them.... And they immediately walked up to him and started pecking at his feathers. He just stood there and doted on them. What is up with this? This roo is soooo gorgeous and so sweet... He was a good flock protector for his other girls and clearly had all his feathers. I will not stand to see this nice boy stripped!

Is there any way to know what causes this, and any way to prevent it? The hens are 'production reds' and they DO NOT pick at each other. JUST the roo. I think there is at least partially some sort of courtship thing to it. I'm in central Virginia and we cannot have roosters running around without feathers!

If you can help me (and the poor roosters) PLEASE do!
Thank you!
Most feather pickers do so out of boredom or because they are not getting enough protein. Make sure they are getting a good quality layer feed with at least 16% protein. Also, try giving them "treats" that teach them to peck at something other than the roo, such as a head of cabbage suspended from the rafters of the coop, or a few cobs of deer corn scattered around the coop.
I agree.

Also if you would like to put the feathers back on your roos fairly quickly you could try cat food. The extra protien and oild in it are great for that. We got some silver laced wyandottes about a month before winter last year that had been picked over bad and fed them cat food. most of their feathers were back before it got too cold.
Thank you for the replies. I do give (kitten) food to supplement protein, and especially to the naked roo. I personally do not believe this has anything to do with protein lack because 1. these pullets have not begun to lay, I have given high protein kitten food and MEAT as well as boiled eggs and it has done NOTHING to deter the pecking. It's not lack of protein. 2. the girls walked RIGHT UP TO the roo the moment I put him in with them and began the picking... 3. the girls DO NOT pick at each other's feathers. I am more inclined to think this is a behavioral thing and I guess I've got to be stuck with believing that it's up to a rooster to allow the picking or not.

BUT - why do these girls pick his feathers while the other 20 he was with before did not? Is it something with the breeds?

The white naked roo (the one I rescued) was in with a DIFFERENT batch of 50 'production red' layers.

This is a new batch from the same breeder and the girls instantly started the picking.

I've got to get that new roo out of there the minute I have a minute...and I don't know what to do with him just yet. It's frustrating. And apparently it's not all that common to experience this because I've not found anyone else who ended up with a naked roo. Why is it that I have found 3 roos who are prone to it?

Me, personally, I'd just say forget the roo with these chickens. But it's the neighbor's flock (she's 84) and she insists on having a rooster in her flock...or two. She thinks it makes the eggs more nutritious or something. Even if the roo suffers. I'm pretty much going to wash my hands of it now because I can't make decisions for her...but for my own chickens, it would be nice to gain some insight about what the rooster picking is all about...

Thanks again ya'll!
if you have a flock of chickens all of one color - but your roo is of a different color - maybe they are just picking on him b/c of that? i've noticed that my hens tend to be less friendly towards chickens of different colors from themselves - the difference is that i have approximately 2million colors in my flock, so there is very little picking going on. just cliques.

so...maybe getting a red rooster would help. your hens may be clique-y
I don't know if it will work, but it's worth a try. I do know that no matter how hard I try, all of my hens separate out by color and sometimes even breed, even if they were raised together in a multi-color group.

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