He started losing his feathers a few weeks ago. It looks red and swollen to me and now his tail feathers are falling out. None of our other 46 chickens are having any issues like this. Any help would be appreciated.
How old is this bird?
What is the gender breakdown on your flock?
Have you inspected him for signs of external parasites?
Have you seen any altercations between this bird and any others in the flock?
Is the area pictured the only area where he has this happening?
Here's what I would do if he were my cockerel. First, I'd grab him up and check him very carefully for mites or lice.
If he doesn't have any, then here's a couple of things to think about:
It almost looks like something may have grabbed him and pulled out his feathers--especially the tail. Once the skin is exposed, then sometimes the other chickens are drawn to that area, and they'll start pecking. Chickens can be sort of cannibalistic.
What I would do, is pull up a chair and watch the flock. (I call it chicken TV. haha) Do you have more than one cockerel? Or perhaps there's a really bossy hen who is doing the plucking.....
If one of the other chickens is bullying him, then you might want to put some salve on his bare skin, or even spray on some blue cote. I've never thought of putting a hen saddle on a rooster, but you could even do that.
Since you said he's a cockerel, I figure he's young. Surprisingly, he might be low on the pecking order.....
Good luck and he looks to be a pretty rooster....Hope he heals up for you....
He is 6 months old and so are the pullets. We have 36 girls and he is the only male. I've not seen any external parasites on any of the pullets or him (I handle the girls frequently, but he does not like to be picked up.) He hasn't been in any altercations that I've seen and this is the only spot he is losing feathers.
I will definitely be watching them more diligently. I spent a lot of time with them this summer, but I have since gone back to school and have spent less time with them. Maybe I will see just who is picking on him!
You know, maybe he tried to defend the flock, and some of his feathers were yanked, and now his skin is irritated......You just never know. Once, over winter, when my small flock was cooped up quite a bit, everybody (even the rooster) was getting a bald spot just above the tail. I looked, like you have, and no parasites. So I just saw with them, watching them, and I saw it. The SAME hen would sneak up behind each chicken, and WACK! She would pull out a few feathers in the same spot on their backs. And her back was perfect. No bald spot.
I don't know why she was so mean, but I sold her. Everybody grew their feathers back.