I am a first time suburban backyard chicken owner. One of my hens has lost a lot of her feathers in one spot in the center of her back.
I have no idea why this is happening and I am wondering if someone here has any advice.
Should I take her to a vet? Is this something normal? I am new to chickens so I have no idea what to do here.
Any and all advice is welcome.
It's totally normal if you have a rooster that's frequently mounting the hen for her to begin losing feathers there. They get scraped off by the rooster while he's trying to situate himself on the hen for breeding.
Alternately, it could be that other hens are picking at her and pulling her feathers. It could be over food, water, roosting space, overcrowding or any other stress that the birds are going through.
If it's from the rooster then she'll probably be ok as long as there are enough hens to accommodate the number of roosters that require her attention. Generally I try to keep 12 hens per rooster and even still, some hens get pretty bare backs by mid summer.
If it is the other hens picking at her, then you need to figure out why and remedy that quick. Hens that start picking each other will eventually draw blood and once that happens they will literally pick her to death.
There's not much else to do except wait til she molts and grows new feathers. She doesn't look all that bad really.
If you can tell us more about the living conditions, location, feed and flock numbers we might be able to narrow it down. From my perspective it looks like rooster burn though and if so, she'll likely be fine.
I agree with Craig.
If it's a cock that is causing the problem it will look like that and some times the top of her head will get kind of bare too.
But if it is other hens picking it will tend to be all over her body and not just in the center of her back.
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association