Bright red chicken backs : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

many of our hens have lost their feathers on their backs over the winter, i think due to the rough nature of our resident rooster. now with the sunny weather, they seem to be a bit sunburned. aside from being unsightly, is this a problem? i am going to get rid of the rooster, as we have others coming up, and he is sort of mean anyway. the general health of the hens seems fine, they are free ranging and are laying an egg every day or two. about a third of them have this condition and the rest look great.... anything to worry about?

-- John Houser (, April 17, 2000


John, I have had the same thing happen to our chickens, and they don't seem the least bit handicapped by this. We had more than ten roosters at one time (to 20+ hens), and the girls were all bareback by the end of summer. After we butchered all the roosters (save two), most of the girls had their feathers back within the year. The hierarchy within the coop is why not all the girls have naked backs - the boss hens are mated far less frequently than the low birds on the proverbial totem pole. Pity that bottom bird - she gets no rest! Good luck with your flock.


-- Judi (, April 17, 2000.

This is normal. nothing to worry about here. You should keep you roosters toes trimmed if there is bleeding problems.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (, April 18, 2000.

my neighbor and i have been looking for the answer to this problem for months. i had three roosters back in november and we got rid of two hoping this would solve the problem. my neighbor has only one and her's aren't so bad. their backs are red but no open wounds. yesterday we sprayed bluecoat on them.thought it would sting considering the alcohol content, but they actually seemed relieved during the process. hope this works and have been wondering if they will ever look normal again. is this a common problem?

-- laura cavallari (, April 18, 2000.

Did the same thing myself last fall, kept several roosters in with the hens, waiting until they got bigger before butchering them. Only had 4 hens, and they are butt naked on their backs, as my granddaughter says! I jokingly said I was going to make them some little coats to cover the backs. Anyway, one of the hens showed signs of being broody earlier this month, so I let her set, and her feathers are almost completely grown back. The other three, still have those bare backs, but I'm sure they will grow back after a while, maybe not until they molt and grow new feathers again. Doesn't seem to bother them, even in the coldest weather. Jan

-- Jan B (, April 19, 2000.

It may not seem to bother them in cold weather, but I suspect that since they are minus a lot of their insulation in a very vulnerable spot, they are probably eating twice as much to keep their body heat up.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, April 19, 2000.

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