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Featherless Butts
by: sharon

This is generally a sign that other chickens are pulling feathers on these birds. The best thing to do is spend some time watching the birds and see what is going on. It's rare that a chicken will pluck its self. I've had that problem with a few birds...I called them my Ugly Butt Chickens... I noticed one of my black hens pulling and eating feathers off these 3 birds. I believe this can be a sign of "pecking order", but it can also be a sign of increased protein needs.

I opted to think the best of my birds and supplement with black oil sunflower seeds, to increase protein and fat. About the same time the moult started, so I further increased nutrition with chick start.

Of 18 hens all re-feathered from their moult beautifully, but one. I watched & the other birds weren't picking on her. She may have been old & just unable to keep up. One night it got down to single digits and I lost her to the cold. I'd thought of knitting her a sweater, but decided to let nature take it's course. They all free range and have unlimited feed. I had supplemented the whole flock with vitamins, minerals, & more & now I can't tell who the other Ugly Butt chickens were.

I've noticed that chicks raised in areas that lack enough room to spread out & interesting things to do, or proper nutrition, can choose plucking others as an activity or supplemental diet. I got all my birds as adults, so have no idea why this one black hen was plucking others, but increasing nutrition seemed to help.

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