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Bare bellies girls

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UKinMaine
Hello! Looking for some advice..... I have 7 chickens, 5 red sex-link, 2 barred rocks. Large coop, decent sized run (making it bigger in the spring.... It's not quite spring up here in Maine yet!!). Girls are kept clean, fed layer pellets, scratch, meal worms and kitchen veggie scraps regularly ...... Some oyster shell too.

Anyway, my two barred rocks have lost all the feathers on their under bellies. One of my sex links molted a few weeks ago from the neck down and this is very different. The only place they have NO feather is their bellies- the bottom/vent area is still feathered too. The skin is quite red on one of them, less so on the other. Some of their other feathers are very fluffy too. I don't think they are being picked on- they are the biggest chickens and dominate the other 5, in fact the one that is barest is my least friendly hen. I'm really puzzled as to what is causing it, but suspect they are doing it to themselves or each other- they roost next to one another. There are no feathers in the coop either which makes me think they are eating them. But WHY?

They seem happy, still laying, busying about the coop and run. Possibly bored? They have been cooped up a lot (winters are long here) and haven't free ranged much at all..... We have a LOT of land, but unfortunately the coop is close to our neighbors property and the hens like their shrubs and plants a little too much. Our neighbors don't feel the same, so we are trying to find a solution to keep them on our side of the property line!

I've included some pictures of the coop/run and bare bellied girls. Just so strange to me that it is both of my Barred Rocks.....

Any thoughts/advice much appreciated (oh- I've also looked and checked for mites etc but since it's just 2 of the hens I don't think so, and I've not seen anything at all suspicious)

Thanks![IMG][IMG][IMG][IMG]
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Originally Posted by UKinMaine View Post

a few seconds ago
UKinMaine
Hello! Looking for some advice..... I have 7 chickens, 5 red sex-link, 2 barred rocks. Large coop, decent sized run (making it bigger in the spring.... It's not quite spring up here in Maine yet!!). Girls are kept clean, fed layer pellets, scratch, meal worms and kitchen veggie scraps regularly ...... Some oyster shell too.

Anyway, my two barred rocks have lost all the feathers on their under bellies. One of my sex links molted a few weeks ago from the neck down and this is very different. The only place they have NO feather is their bellies- the bottom/vent area is still feathered too. The skin is quite red on one of them, less so on the other. Some of their other feathers are very fluffy too. I don't think they are being picked on- they are the biggest chickens and dominate the other 5, in fact the one that is barest is my least friendly hen. I'm really puzzled as to what is causing it, but suspect they are doing it to themselves or each other- they roost next to one another. There are no feathers in the coop either which makes me think they are eating them. But WHY?

They seem happy, still laying, busying about the coop and run. Possibly bored? They have been cooped up a lot (winters are long here) and haven't free ranged much at all..... We have a LOT of land, but unfortunately the coop is close to our neighbors property and the hens like their shrubs and plants a little too much. Our neighbors don't feel the same, so we are trying to find a solution to keep them on our side of the property line!

I've included some pictures of the coop/run and bare bellied girls. Just so strange to me that it is both of my Barred Rocks.....

Any thoughts/advice much appreciated (oh- I've also looked and checked for mites etc but since it's just 2 of the hens I don't think so, and I've not seen anything at all suspicious)

Thanks![IMG][IMG][IMG][IMG]

They need more protein, especially if they are molting.

......and check them for lice/mites by taking them off the roost well after dark and parting the feathers down to the skin around vent, head, and neck, and under wings.

Google images of lice and mites, both bugs and their eggs, before exam.

 

I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

 

The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

 

Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

 

Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
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