Red Star with Bare Belly?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by fch, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. fch

    fch Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Jul 29, 2009
    I have two Red Star chickens (a layer breed). One of my chickens is bigger, tougher, and a better layer than the other, in case this means anything. Today I was washing her feet when I noticed that she had a bare belly with a strip of feathers right down the center. The chickens eat plenty of their food (layena) and snack on bugs, grass, etc. We checked the smaller one but her belly was covered in feathers. This chickens are a little over 1 year old. Is this normal or should I do something, and if so, what? Thank you all so much!
     
  2. DTRM30

    DTRM30 Chillin' With My Peeps

    464
    4
    121
    May 25, 2009
    I'm not sure where on the belly - but I do know a hen going broody will pluck the feathers on her chest/belly - to conduct her body heat better to the eggs.
     
  3. fch

    fch Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Jul 29, 2009
    I've heard about this... however, we don't have a rooster and neither do any of our neighbors, so unless she's making something up, I don't see how this could be happening. Thank you, though!
     
  4. DTRM30

    DTRM30 Chillin' With My Peeps

    464
    4
    121
    May 25, 2009
    You don't need to have rooster for a hen to go broody. It's a seasonal and hormonal thing - rooster or not - they don't seem to know the difference. I have two broodies right now - and had three earlier. No rooster.
    Same as you don't need a rooster to get eggs - you only need a rooster for fertile eggs that will hatch.
    If she starts to get crabby - and not wanting to leave her favorite nesting spot - you'll know for sure. Sometimes they only kinda "think about it" so will go through some of the motions like plucking feathers and getting crabby, but never truly become fully broody and actually sit on a nest of eggs. My hens actually steal all the eggs in the hen house - to sit on them. They don't care who laid them, they just know they want to sit on them. The ones who are broody now are golden comets aka red sex links. I don't worry about trying to "break" them of being broody - I just let them run with it till they figure out the eggs aren't going to hatch.

    Of course, there could be other reasons such as mites or lice - so you might want to check that as well. For info on how to spot them, just do a search on this web site and you'll find a ton of info. But if they seem healthy and active otherwise - not much else you can do except wait and see.

    I snagged this off of a search - as I found it was easier than trying to explain it all myself ...

    When a hen "goes broody" there are several signs. First they tend to puff their feathers out, and they tend to hold their wings slightly out away from their sides. Broody hens do "growl" and squawk at you if you are bothering them, or even try to attack you, but so do some non-broody hens when they are on the nest to lay. It just depends on the temperament of the bird.

    Broody hens lose feathers along their breast area, which allows more heat to get to the eggs. This feather loss can be slight or heavy, again depending on the hen. When the hen is on the nest they usually look kind of "hunkered" down on it. They will be reluctant to leave the nest even to eat or drink, and will "hold" their poo until they take those few food and water breaks they permit themselves. This results in huge dropping clumps that are usually found near the feeding area.

    Broody hens also "tick". They say "buck...buck...buck..buck...buck..." quietly and consistently at very regular intervals almost all of the time. This "ticking continues as they care for the chicks. It may be how the chicks recognize their mama, as they can probably even hear her before they hatch.

    A chicken who is sick will often appear droopy and not want to eat. A broody will usually move quite lively if she is removed from the nest.

    Some chickens constantly try to go broody, and stop laying any eggs the entire broody period. Other hens will never go broody. This is dependent on breeding, as well as individual birds. Many breeds of chickens have been selectively bred to reduce the broody instinct. This allows the chickens to lay more eggs per year, because they do not lose laying time by being broody.

    Unless eggs are fresh and fertilized by a rooster they will not hatch. Sometimes a cold spell or heat wave can also kill the embryos as well. It is a good idea to candle a few eggs, after a week or so, and see if they are viable before letting the hen keep setting on them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
  5. fch

    fch Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Jul 29, 2009
    Thank you so much, all! That was very helpful
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by