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Help! Sick Chicken

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I have several chickens that have large sores on their bottom just below their vents.  I lost one of them last week.  A second one is very lethargic and I don't think she will live through the night.  I separated her from the others.  I have a three others that act good but have the same large sores.  Almost all their tail feathers are frizzy.  I inspected for lice & mites; don't think I found any but quite honestly I am not entirely sure if I am checking correctly.  Any ideas on what is going on?  Anything I can do or check for?  These are my first set of chickens and they are all less than a year old. 

post #2 of 15
I would try cleaning omit out and just keep and eye on them and force feed and water them if the try not to eat
post #3 of 15
That definitely looks like feather pickng and cannibalism. If you have flies out right now, I would be afraid that those wounds could have maggot infestation or fly strike. Cannibalism can be a problem is chickens are over crowded, don't get outside, get bored, or don't get at least 16% protein in their feed. What type of feed do you use? I would give them a warm bath in epsom salts or betadine and water, and look for any maggots, of course pick them off. Then coat the wounds after drying them, with plain Bacitracin or Neosprin ointment. BluKote spray or Nustock creamcan be good to disguise the wounds to discourage pecking.You may not have flies yet in CO, so that is good. Let us know what you find.
Edited by Eggcessive - 3/15/16 at 8:19pm
post #4 of 15
Yes but why then would it just be right there under there vents on all of them
post #5 of 15
Originally Posted by Roada Red View Post

Yes but why then would it just be right there under there vents on all of them
Often the feather picking is done at night on the roost, esp. If the roost is staggered, the culprit can come from under the other chickens and "snack" easily.

Take a look at who is roosting where at night as well.
post #6 of 15
I would be sticking a camera in the coop a cull the culprits before the others start as they eat enough during the day why they feel the need to snack on other flock members
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

Well, my really sick one died last night in our chicken hospital.  I did a good inspection of her body and I found no evidence of any lice or mites.  I also didn't find any maggots.  It is still too cold to have the flies out this time of year.  I would agree with you that it is either picking or maybe some sort of disease since it is affecting multiple chickens?  Or do you think that one chicken could be pecking on multiple other chickens?  Or could it be multiple bullies in the flock?  Sorry for the graphic photos but I am posting a picture of the dead hen's wounds so you can see there really is no evidence of a parasite infection. 


I am going to look at picking up a game camera today so I can see what they are doing at night.  I had a total of 12 chickens (after this loss I am down to 10) and they have a coop that is 6' x 8' with a run that is 8' x 22'.  I am going to be expanding the run this spring.  I was told that my coop & run was large enough for the amount of chickens I had.  I am planning on getting another 16 this spring.


I just got in from looking at the rest of my flock.  I have two black stars that have the same wound just below the vents.  I have two barred rocks that also have similar wounds (wounds not as bad as the black star but feather loss is more pronounced).  My Rhode Island Red, Red Star, and 4 White Leghorns appear to be fine with just minimal fizziness on their hind sections. I brought in the most injured of the black stars and put her in my chicken hospital (small dog crate).  I also lathered her wound up with some neosporin.  I will keep her in the garage for the next week to see how she does.  I may also have to go buy a couple more dog crates so I can have a couple more chicken hospitals on hand..ugh..more expense. 


I really appreciate the thoughts and ideas from everyone.  If you think there is something more I should be doing, please let me know or if you think I am doing something wrong, I welcome the feedback!  Hopefully someone reading this in the future can benefit from the challenges I am having.




post #8 of 15

Once there is redness or feathers missing, others will peck at the area. I would spray them BluKote to color the area after using neosporin ointment. Here are a couple of good articles on this subject:

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Excellent references!  Thank you so much for sharing.  I watched the chickens today interact a bit and I think I know who the bullies are in the flock.  I think they may be bored in their run.  Expanding their run will give them new place to explore and hopefully less interest in picking at each other. 

post #10 of 15
Ok well to give them something to do in there expanded run I would put some stumps in the ground they like to hop up on them and take a nap and put some roosts in there run put in a compost box to let them dig around in the scraps and stuff
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