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?