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Feather loss on neck/vent area

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For the past 6 months my bluebell hen Betty has been bald on her neck/ears and also has a bald area around her vent which looks quite sore. She is eating normally and laying extremely well.


I've tried a variety of things, none of which seem to be working.


Initially I tried DE powder twice per week. After that, I applied Beaphar Anti-Parasite Spot-on twice within the designated application times. After that I've tried Harkers Ivermectin (the one for pigeons).


I've washed her vent area and tried to keep it clean, as she did have a build up of poo. As i've suspected feather plucking I have also been spraying her bum and neck (carefully) every night with Nettex anti-pecking spray.


She has some pin feathers coming through in both areas, but the skin on her neck looks quite flaky and sometimes red.


I have three chickens in total and the other two are showing no symptoms. I feel awful for Betty, she looks a mess! They are also booked in to chicken boarding next week while we are on holiday, and I'm worried that the lady won't accept her as she looks like something from an RSPCA advert! :cry:


Any other thoughts on what it could be? There are absolutely no signs of mites or lice on her, unless they are under her skin and so invisible to the naked eye.

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I think one of your others has been pecking her especially as you have ruled out mites and lice.


I had one once that removed all of the feathers around the vents of the other 3 chickens and they were all bigger than her.


Right now I have one who has a very bald neck and 2 that have been pecked but less so. It didn't happen at all over winter. My culprit is the top hen.


Have a look at your pecking order and see if you can see who is doing it.


I would perhaps order some bumper bits and fit them to the two that have all their feathers to give the other one a break.

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Ive had this problem to but just the neck areas started with one chicken she was top hen now three others are looking the same ive done the same as you checked them over powdered them up cleaned coop.they still looking bad but like you laying and eating lots xx seem happy xx

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Thanks for the replies. Yes I am fairly sure that Margaery who is top hen is doing some feather plucking...she does it on Florence's back but seems to stop this is I spray her with anti-pecking spray. I've been spraying Betty's bum and neck just in case and she does have some small pin feathers coming through, but they're taking a loooong time! I wasn't too concerned at first but as she's been bald in those areas for 6 months I was losing hope that she's ever have feathers again!


Like you say Eve, they seem happy and are laying really well. I was worried they might not be getting enough protein so I've been feeding them a few extra mealworms and scrambled egg every few days. They are on a good food that is high in protein too.


I've also used some Johnsons ant-mite spray that contains permethrin, just in case the ivermectin hasn't worked (which is should do I'm sure).


How soon can I dose her with Ivermectin again? I last did it about 2 weeks ago with the Beaphar spot-on. I'm keen to break the cycle and stop any lice recurring.

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This may not help at all, but we have some rescue hybrids who tend to be more feisty than our pure breeds, and more likely to pick on other birds. What we found has helped the general mood of our flocks, them in particular, is the weekend mash treat. It consists of:


mashed potato as the basis

live yoghurt to mix to a creamy paste texture

cod liver oil

poultry spice

crushed garlic, garlic oil or dried garlic pieces


They all seem to love it, though it stinks to high heaven, but it really does seem to calm them all down - no idea why. It might just be coincidence, but worth a shot and definitely will do them good anyway! It helped a few of the hybrids back into laying harder egg shells, which was a relief in itself.

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