My 9 week old easter egger chick is missing feathers on her back. This was not there 2 days ago. There is no bleeding or drainage. It does not appear that the others are picking on her. She is acting normally, eating, does not seem to be bothered by this or in pain. I have 9. Grace is probably a day or so older than the rest, and has been somewhat of the leader of the group, brave, friendly. I live in Illinois. This is our first time to have chickens. I have a mixed flock, received them at about 2 days old. The chicks were inside our house until 2 weeks ago when we moved them to their new coop in our back yard. They seem to have adjusted well, and like it. The run is not finished yet. They eat Purina medicated chick starter/grower and chick grit. I recently started giving them a small amount of greens, meal worms, slugs/worms as treats, but not a lot. Is this a disease, parasite? Do they molt at this age? I appreciate any advice or help.
9 week old pullet with new skin wound or disease or is this normal?
Featured Stories on BackYard Chickens
You mention that your run is not finished yet. Are they able to go outside at all, or are they all being kept in the coop.
Being in too close of quarters can cause feather picking, so the more room they have to roam around the better.
It does look like feather picking.
Check for any lice/mites just to be sure (look for bugs under the wings and around the vent).
Observe your flock, to see if you can find the offender, sometimes you may not see the behavior during the day, it can also occur when roosting.
Thank you so much. No, they have not been outside yet. I've been concerned about predators and keeping them safe, worried about letting them out in the yard, we have hawks, fox, etc. We will get that run built ASAP. I got some "Hen healer" and "Pick No More" and put it on her.
Hopefully when they can have more room the problem will resolve itself.
A few "boredom busters" you can try to help reduce picking in the meantime is hanging a cabbage, a bundle of greens, apple, etc. in the coop. Since you have 9 "cooped up" you may want to try something like hanging a cabbage in one area and putting a suet basket with greens, apples, etc. in another, that way it "splits" the group up a little. Make sure you provide grit for them. When they go outside you can continue hanging fruit/greens, my seem to enjoy having something to pick at.
You can also provide a dish tub of dirt/sand in the coop so they can take a dust bath as well.
The salves should help soothe and heal, but keep an eye on it to make sure no one is getting bloody.
Feathering picking can be an indicator of overcrowding stress. Since they only have access to a coop, and no run, space is your issue. At 9 weeks old, they have the same space needs as an adult bird. That means at least 4 sq ft of coop space and at least 10 sq ft of run space per bird. Overcrowding stress is serious and can even cause birds to cannibalize one another. Yes, they can get so desperate for room, that they will kill others for the space. Once overcrowding behavior issues start, they can be very, very difficult to stop, even after everybody has enough space.
It doesn't have to be perfect, but they do need more room. A few metal posts in the ground and some wire fencing attached to it can be put up in a few hours. Add electric around the top and bottom, and it will be predator proof from most ground-dwelling critters.