Chickens with bare behinds : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I saw a sign at the feed mill that said that someone was giving away free 8 Rhode Island Red hens. Well the night before, my hubby and I were looking at a catalog and thought we'd like to get a few, so it was pretty great timing!

I call and arrange a time to pick up the hens.

We arrive and am stunned by the conditions these chickens were in. No access to grass, dirt floor, and no sign of water. And the floor was *really* dirty, like it hasn't been cleaned out in years.

2 of them turn out to be roosters, so my husband is not thrilled but I sure as heck wasn't leaving them there. We already have 7 roosters and really don't need more roosters, but such is life.

I had 3 of them in a big metal cage and they were poking at the bottom at the grass and making all kinds of happy noises - I guess they haven't had grass probably their entire life.

Now the big problem - several of them have bare behinds. We're talking no feathers AT ALL on their rear ends. He said his grandkids pulled them out. I don't know what type of barbaric grandchildren this man has, but it's a horrible site. One of them has a bloody behind and the others that have some butt feathers, the feathers are VERY dirty.

Another problem is their stool - the few times I saw it, it was almost clear and quite watery.

Any suggestions on how I can clean their little hineys? What can I put on the bald ones? Bag balm? Is that okay?? Will a normal diet and fresh water and clean bedding be enough to get their stool back to where it should be? I'm really worried about them freezing since they have no feathers on their bottoms. I'm not just talking they are missing a few.. I am talking they are bare as a baby's butt.

Then the guy asked me if I wanted his ducks. The ducks conditions were no better - he had a little swimming pool for them - however it was empty and dried dirt was all over it. I saw no fresh water for them either. Then of course, there were undernurished dogs.........

I'm disgusted by the way this person keeps his animals. Oh.. the reason he's getting rid of these 8 is so that he can get 40 peeps and he wasn't sure how the older chickens would accept the peeps, so he wants rid of them. I don't see how 8 chickens lived in this place - and he is gonna put 40 in there?

Truly amazed and disgusted that a human being can, with a clear conscience, treat animals this way.

-- Shannan (, November 10, 2001


sounds like they are in molt,, which iis no big deal,, except when they start to bleed,, some may actually peck the bleeder to death.

-- stan (, November 10, 2001.

Sounds like mites. We had the same problem a few years ago. Had never seen it before. We cleaned the Chicken house and sprinkled Seven (sp) dust around on the wood chips that we use on the floor. Also sprinkled seven in the nest and on the chickens themselves. Eliminated the problem. I know most people don't want to use chemicals and I agree. Only till it is MY chickens that are in trouble. Worked for us.

-- Belle (, November 10, 2001.

Wow - quick responses - thanks so much!

RE: mites... would that affect the whole body or just the rear ends? These guys have all their other feathers but the ones that were pulled out by the grandkids. Would mites just make it easier to pull out the feathers or would that just prevent the feathers from growing back?

Should I just let nature take it's course in regards to their feathers growing back or should I put some ointment or salve on to make them possibly more comfortable??

And any ideas about getting their stool back to normal??

Thanks so much for your input!

-- Shannan (, November 10, 2001.

I betcha that with a little TLC they will be back to normal in no time. Make sure that they have plenty of straw to sleep on since they are naked bottoms! I can't believe that the grandkids would do that! He may have been watching your reaction and just blaming it on the grandkids. How awful either way! I betcha that their poop will be fine with a little good laying ration and maybe some extra corn chops to put some fat on them too. Anything that you give them will be better than they got! I know how you feel! I hate to go somewhere to get an animal or do business and see dead or miserable animals all over! Poor things! They are sure the ones that are blessed now that you have them! Did you get the ducks?

-- Nan (, November 10, 2001.

My daughter had a dog who pulled a lot of feathers out of the rear of a couple of my hens and one took forever to grow back. Bet they haven't been getting enough fiber either. Just plain oats will add fiber. Sometimes I buy marked down brocolli that is getting a little old and give to my girls in the winter when they can't get anything green. I also half cook pasta for them when it's cold. I live alone and never use a whole package and it's cheap. They love it on cold mornings. It's disgusting to find these neglected creatures but it's fun getting them back on their feet.

-- Frances Burt (, November 10, 2001.

Uh, I know I'll get yelled at for this, but have you considered turning him over to the ASPCA/Humane Society? That individual shouldn't really have animals. I know it's a judgment call, but if things are that bad maybe you should seek help. It's not an easy decision. I'm trying to figure out how to help rescue a metric ton load of animals that are not being kept properly. Most specifically horses in dog runs. Good luck with whatever you do. Keep the birds separated in cages if you can. Bloody anything is dinner to chickens. Mine ran and gobbled up happily all the baby rabbits my doe kicked out of the nest. Quite disturbing. Alternately, if you think they won't recover properly, kill them and put them out of their misery. I know, I know. Again, Good Luck.

-- Gailann Schrader (, November 10, 2001.

The bare behinds may be from the roosters. We had to remove the rooster from our hens because he's so aggressive when mating that he eventually pulls out their feathers (completely bare on the backside). After just a few weeks they have completely come back and they are looking spiffy again--the chickens that were never in with our rooster never get that way, so I know it isn't just their normal molting. Try and keep the bloody areas covered with a dark salve to keep the other chickens from pecking at the bloody ones or separate it until it heals a bit if you have the space.

-- Sharon (, November 10, 2001.

Yeah, definitely keep a close eye on the bloody one, preferably keep it separated until it heals. Chickens have been known to pick another chicken to death because it had a bloody rear end. They just keep picking at the bloody part and it gets worse and worse and . . . dead chicken.

-- Laura Rae Jensen (, November 10, 2001.

I really doubt the grandkid story. I have had flocks that picked at each other and they had bare bottoms by the time they were done. As far as the feathers growing back that usually happens when the next molt comes along and if they are still pecking at each other it won't make any difference. Sounds like they were crowded and under stress.

I agree with the others about bleeding it can lead to death by the others picking at the injured party. They just can't seem to leave blood alone. I don't know if it is because it is shiny or not but just have witnessed too often a dead end to that kind of injury due to the picking.

It never ceases to amaze me how some people keep and treat their animals. Steve

-- Steve Carder NH (, November 11, 2001.

Chickens are omnivores - they will naturally peck at anything bloody.Feeding a cup or 2 of WHOLE oats every day will help. Something about the silica content helping calm stressful nerves as well as supplying what the feathers need for new growth. Your care will work wonders. If you can get untreated wheat it keeps them laying year round. I have hens who lay for years past the time most quit. Egg pellets supply a healthy range of nutrients. I feed a mix of every whole grain I can find plus egg pellets. Sometimes I buy scratch that has some ground because it is the only way I can get milo or maize. My Grandad said that a healthy chicken is one with a clean fluffy behind.

-- carol (, November 11, 2001.

Too many chickens confined in a too small area causes boredom which leads to undesirable behaviors like feather picking.

One thing i've yet to see mentioned (unless i overlooked) is to provide these darlings with added protein. Chopped boiled egg or dry cat food soaked in water. It'll help their feathers grow back faster (provided the feather shaft has been plucked from the skin; if the part of the feather is still left the body still thinks there's a full feather and those guys will just have to wait til they molt).

Also give them some plain yogurt (not vanilla flavored). It give the good gut bacteria a boost.

You're a good person to rescue those darlings; hope all goes well for you.

-- Buk Buk (, November 11, 2001.

I'm goin through the same thing you are except with ducks that have been dropped off at a local reservoir. They are from a nearby duck farm. These poor birds are the culls. they have broken legs, many are sick and die. We have buried several that died shortly after being dropped off by an employee who thinks she is doing the right thing.They are filthy and many are missing feathers on their rear end.There are a lot of sick people in the world! Call the S.P.C.A.and pat yourself on the back for what you are doing. j.b. in oh.

-- Jim in ohio (, November 11, 2001.

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