Feather Picking and Bare Bottoms

While I’m in Italy this week, I’m revisiting and sharing my top posts. A lot of you (tens of thousands!) have found me via my FAQ about feather picking and bare butts. 

black star


Seeing a usually sleek or fluffy, full-feathered hen with bald spots can send the chicken keeper into a tizzy. Sometimes it’s a cause for alarm, but often, it’s a part of the animal’s normal lifecycle. Seeing a hen pick feathers off of a flock mate can also send the owner into a panic.



Sometimes it’s cause for concern, but sometimes it’s a social behavior that all of the hens are happy with. I’ve written about that in the pecking order FAQ. Right now we’re heading into molting season. Feathers are flying. Loose feathers are enticing the hens to pluck. Bottoms are bare. Necks are scrawny.

bare neck

Unless your hens have raw or bleeding skin, there’s no cause for concern. However, it does mean that you have to schedule a thorough coop clean after all of the feathers drop. Your hens will start the winter with new coats in a tidy coop.

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