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Girls are loosing feathers

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

My girls ( No Roo in the house) are loosing feathers from their underbelly and some around the vent. I suspect Mites, but can't be sure. Here's the info:

 

I have three Bantams, unsure of the particular breed. They are totally free range, but often spend their time in the goat's pen. I have a coop, which they never use, except one girl who lays her eggs in a bucket in there. Mostly, they just wonder the yard and roost in the rafters of the barn. I put chicken scratch out, but they almost never touch it, especially now that it's warmer.They occasionally get ahold of what ever table scraps the goats don't touch, but I imagine most of their diet is bugs from outside. I don't use any vitamins or pro-biotics.

 

I've never seen pecking, but have noticed more of what appears to be itching and scratching themselves. 

 

For good measure, I cleaned out the coop, put fresh straw down and treated with powder for mites. I also got a bunch of meal worms to bump up their protein intake. I've confined the chickens to the coop right now until I figure it out. 

 

So here's my question-

If it's NOT Mites, what else could it be, and what can I do to keep my girls healthier?

Are Pro-biotics and vitamins really necessary with free rangers? Should I hold off on eating their eggs until I get to the bottom of it? 

Should I be worried about any cross-contamination with the goats? Can they catch whatever the chickens have? 

If it's Mites, how long does it take to treat? 

post #2 of 4
I would advise you to always keep a balanced ration available, they probably wouldn't eat much and you wouldn't need to worry if their diet was adequate.

As far as itching, all chickens scratch and preen themselves during part of the day, and there is some feather loss that occurs naturally during the warmer months, my guess is it's for cooling themselves as people will notice it's mostly on the belly, it can also be caused by sitting in the nest which can cause feathers to wear off.

Most parasites can be observed by looking at the vent for lice and eggs clusters, which will be white and clumpy on the base of the feathers, and mites can usually be observed crawling on the face if they are infested. Most chickens tend to them by dust bathing.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #3 of 4

Can it be molt ?

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice! At this point, im sure it's molt, but we have put some DE down and sublime red thier food with a more balanced feed and are giving the girls frequent treats of meal worms and yogurt to make sure they stay healthy. smile.png
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