Why does my pullet pick out her neck feathers?


10 Years
Feb 16, 2009
I noticed it yesterday, one of my 18 week old Wellies is picking out her neck feathers under her chin. Then she was gaping so I thought it could be in reaction to crop distress. I massaged her crop and it feels hard but I can't say it feels unusual.

Is it possible that she has eaten too much of the granite grit I recently put out? My chickens have a large yard but most of it is grass covered so I put out some grit just in case.
Does it look anything like this:


Yes! My pullet's patch is a little smaller and a little higher but yes, that's what it looks like.

....sorry it took so long to post back but I'm having issues with another pullet that has suddenly developed a crooked neck.
I wish I had the answer!

This girl came to us from an overcrowded situation and I posted on here about her missing neck feathers. Someone said it looked like she had been pecked.

Then I noticed this on one of my 7 week old chicks! She has only been with the other chicks her age. I have been watching carefully an have not noticed anyoe picking on this one chick. That is when I started to suspect she had pulled out her own feathers.

I hope someone comes along who can give us good info!

Thanks for posting this question.
I actually saw my bird doing it so I know she's not being picked by others. At the time she was also out in the big chicken yard so she wasn't being crowded.

It's been really hot here, expected 103 today...I wonder if it's heat related? We run the water sprinkler around different parts of the chicken yard to cool it down in the early evenings and I've been meaning to get a mister for during the day.

Any help from people would be great.
I don't think my girls have been picking because of the heat (spring in VT is not warm). The older chickens (the girl in the pic, post #2) eat layer pellets, and when the weather was cooler I gave them a handful of BOSS and cracked corn in the mornings and once a week I give a handful of dry cat food as a treat/protein boost. The little chickies eat medicated chick starter and are in a bottomless tractor on my lawn. That means they have completely different diets which leads me to believe it is not diet related. Both girls are confined (the big girls are in a 3 sided coop/run, the little girls in a tractor) so maybe its boredom??

Has anyone else encountered this self picking on the neck/throat/chin??

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