Why does my chicken look plucked?
Why does my chicken look plucked? My hens have been 'cooped' up in their coop for several weeks (the snow has been too deep to let them out). Today has warmed up so I let them out to run around a bit and I noticed one of my hens has no feather on her lower abdomen (under the tail area) and it appears to be "cooked"...for lack of a better word.
She seems to be eating fine and I think she is still laying. I have felt her abdomen to see if she is egg bound...but felt nothing. I thought maybe molting.
I have 6 hens altogether and no other show signs of illness.
Any help would be appreciated.Answer
She may have been plucked and picked on by the other hens. Neither that pattern, nor this time of year, would be a normal molt. Being cooped up for so long can make the flock uneasy and apt to pick on the most submissive in the group…just to vent their frustrations. Glad she seems to be doing well other than this plucked area. If the skin seems raw, you might want to apply an antibiotic spray or salve to help it heal quickly without infection. Hopefully the weather is better and they can all get out and spread their wings!
If you notice the group continuing to pick on her, you may want to separate her, for her own good, while she heals and grows in new feathers. Sometimes re-introducing a hen after a break from the flock can be a little stressful, but without her plucked rear drawing their attention, she should be able to find her place and blend in again.
We’ve had a pretty snowy winter; several days that the chickens didn’t want to come out of the coop, but I always give them the option. You never know when one gets moody and decides to be aggressive. (I have 2 roosters with 17 hens.) If they can get out, it can break up a fight and prevent injury. My coop has a covered side porch with some straw bales for wind breaks, in case any are tired of being cooped up. I’ve gone out and shoveled snow for them to have access to the grassy part of their yard. They don’t like being out in the wind, but were happily scratching around with big snow flakes falling on them and temperatures in single digits. Fresh air and a little exercise are good for them, even when cold.