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What's wrong with Loretta? Missing feathers!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
This is Loretta. She is about 30 weeks old. I've noticed this week she is losing feathers around the base of her tail. I have thoroughly inspected her for mites, lice, pox, and all the other awful things I read about... I'm finding nothing. She is not at the top of the pecking order, but not at the bottom either. I have not witnessed any aggressive bullying or feather picking, but I realize it could be happening when I'm not looking :-)
She has been happy, active, eating, drinking and laying like a champ.
The weather here has been hot/humid, but I have been making sure they have lots of ice/ cold clean water.
Any help/ advice would be appreciated! I didn't think chickens molt until they are older? Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 8

She appears to be in excellent condition other than the feather situation.  I strongly suspect that 'somebody' is feather picking/eating her feathers.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Ok, I think i know just who the suspect is too! Hmm... do you think upping the protein would help? Or removing the problem bird for a few days? (I read somewhere that if you remove the bully for a few days it changes the pecking order?)
Edited by nikki509 - 9/27/15 at 5:35pm
post #4 of 8

Increasing protein may help.  I don't think it is a dominance/bully type situation.    I tend to think that such 'plucking' may be more a boredom, bad habit sort of things.  Putting 'pin less peepers' on the bird causing the problem is generally a solution.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have never even seen those before! Do you know how long I leave them on?
post #6 of 8
HI! Also, giving something to keep them busy can help. I put scratch inside a cat toy which dispenses treats when rolled, that was fun. Hung a head of cabbage where they can just barely reach it. Put out a light at dusk to attract bugs for them to chase and catch. Hide mealworms around the enclosure, some have suggested a swing, but I haven't tried that yet. If at all possible, add more space to the run. I had trouble with my hens bullying a submissive one while they were in a smaller, temporary run while their bigger run was under construction. More space, no more trouble! Good luck!
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
I spent some time this weekend really watching my girls. I noticed one of them was really being awful to the others. Running up and picking at the down under their tails, for really no reason. One of my girls is almost bald under there! Although there is no bloodshed, after some research I decided to place the bully in chicken jail. She is in an empty dog run I have, and out of sight. The rest of the flock can hear her, but they can't see her, and vice versa. I'm going to keep her there for a few days and put her back in and see what happens... Fingers crossed.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
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