Revisit: Nekked Backs

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by potocki99, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. potocki99

    potocki99 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2011
    Northern Michigan
    I posted on this before, but I want to revisit. ALL of my hens have naked backs. Some are beat up more than others. The one rooster we have, his butt is plucked pretty good, as is under his neck. They are getting a feed that is 24/26% protein, in addition to free will oyster shells. They pluck at each other at various times - when they are roosting (we have a tiered roost) or just for the heck of it. Any thoughts on how to get them to stop?[​IMG]

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  2. EMarston

    EMarston Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2010
    I'm not sure how to get them to stop plucking feathers...or even what it means when they do, but when my hens had naked backs specifically from the rooster "riding" them, I got hen saddles from hensaver.com and they worked like a charm.

    Good luck!
     
  3. potocki99

    potocki99 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2011
    Northern Michigan
    I've thought of that, too, so maybe? Two of the chickens even have their wings picked at pretty good.
     
  4. chickensbythesea

    chickensbythesea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What's your hen/rooster ratio? Bald backs usually means too much hanky-panky, unless you're seeing them do it. It can also take a bit to re-grow, if you've been trying to address this issue for a while. I'd make sure you've got 8-9+ hens per rooster, and add hens or remove boys accordingly. You can get them some saddles to help protect them for the time being, and/or ditch the rooster.

    As for the general feather pulling, do the have a lot of space? Can you supervise (or just let them have) some free range time? And is there one hen that's worse than the others? It ma be a trickle down effect that isolating the worst trouble maker can help with.

    Also, add a lot of stimulation in and out of of the coop. If they are pecking inside the coop, let them out at the crack of dawn, so they spend as little time confined as you can.

    Have you made any changes to the flock recently, like adding or removing birds?
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  5. potocki99

    potocki99 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2011
    Northern Michigan
    We have 8 hens, 1 rooster. And, I've seen the hens doing the actual picking.

    Our coop is 8 x 6 - 4 nesting boxes, the feed, the water can, and the roost is in there. The run is 12x12, covered.

    Free range - I'm actually trying to figure out how to pull that one off - we live in the country and have 5 dogs, one outdoor/indoor cat.

    No flock changes.
     
  6. EMarston

    EMarston Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2010
    I, too, have 8 hens to one rooster and needed the Hen Saddle for 4 of my birds. After a couple of months their feathers were back, good as new.

    I'm looking in The Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow and it says, "Feather picking...triggered by crowding, lack of exercise, irritation due to parasites, or low-protein diet and other nutritional deficiencies."

    The hen saddles will protect their backs and allow their feathers to grow back there, but it won't do anything for faces/wings, etc.

    If this is a new thing for them that you haven't had a problem with before, maybe do some reading up on mites?
     
  7. potocki99

    potocki99 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2011
    Northern Michigan
    Ok, I'm going to look at making my own saddles - will look for mites, too.
     
  8. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    If you want a decent looking flock you are going to need to separate the offenders either long enough to stop the picking or permanently (as picking is generally a very difficult habit to break). I removed the whole upper tier of my chicken hierarchy last summer for the same problem. Nothing I tried worked to stop the problem, and I tried everything. After a year of having an incredibly scraggly looking flock I got sick of it and started culling offenders. It took the removal of nearly half my flock to stop the issue, but it did stop. Now, my flock is beautiful and much happier without the aggressive birds that were picking everyone bald.

    Good luck.
     

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