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Hen missing feathers on her lower back...NOT a rooster!

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

I have read a bunch of posts on here regarding the missing feathers, but am not yet convinced on any one reason for what is causing it. 

One of my hens, Dot, is missing feathers on her back just above her tail.  I have 6 hens outside with no rooster (so that rules out one reason).  They are all the same age, on lay pellets, in a coop and run when we are gone and are free to roam the yard when we are home (which rules out boredom and cannibalism in my opinion).  I have not seen any of the girls peck at each other.  Today, while they were ALL at the sliding glass door (there "hang out" spot) two of the girls pecked out lose fuzzy feathers from Dot, not in the featherless area though and Dot didn't seem to notice whatsoever. We've heard that hens will peck out the lose feathers in each other, though I am not sure this is true. Anyway...still haven't seen any feather picking in that particular area (oh and no skin damage).  Maybe she is doing it herself? Even the pin feathers that are starting to come back in are broken and frayed.  If it is pecking is it behavioral or a protein-deficiency?  Doesn't help her if I can't correct the cause.

Another possible cause that I am considering is nesting.  Pia, one my EEs, is the sweetest little bird.  However, she turns into the devil bird in the nest. If she wants to lay, the nest is HERS (regardless how many nests there are, of course! somad ).  She has bit off pieces of one of my other hens comb and is always blooding up their combs over the nest. She is not the top hen and is bossed around outside.  Could it be that she is tearing up Dot's back feathers when they fight over the nest? (Dot is above her in the pecking order as far as we can tell.)

I want to correct the problem, but helping Dot and correcting the behavior are two different issues.


Edited by BarkerChickens - 4/8/09 at 1:24am
I'm Shelby!! My wonderful hubby and I have 15 hens (1 Delaware, 1 white Leghorn, 2 mottled Javas, 2 Buckeyes, 2 barred Rocks, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 4 Easter Eggers, 4 Jersey Giants and 4 Welsummers), 1 roo (barred rock), 4 dogs, 2 cats and 3 rabbits...and all spoiled!!
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I'm Shelby!! My wonderful hubby and I have 15 hens (1 Delaware, 1 white Leghorn, 2 mottled Javas, 2 Buckeyes, 2 barred Rocks, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 4 Easter Eggers, 4 Jersey Giants and 4 Welsummers), 1 roo (barred rock), 4 dogs, 2 cats and 3 rabbits...and all spoiled!!
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post #2 of 33

Sounds mysterious!  idunno
I hope people who might have correct understanding don't skim past this post assuming it's a case of rooster over-enthusiasm without taking a look to see it's something more unusual and obscure.

 

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Please visit SOCIAL ISSUES page.

 

Chickens are a joy.

 

www.PoultryPedia.com  ~  HOW TO:  Treat Leg Problems  •  Choose & give Chicken Medicines  •  Super-Glue Wounds  •  Remove Rooster Spurs  •  Identify Breeds  •  Promote Peace in Your Flock  •  & More

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post #3 of 33

If you have no rooster, which I might add the hens generally only lose their feathers closer to the neck from the rooster biting but can lose the feathers near the butt if their are to many roosters trying to get some { lol}, that rules out feather loss from roosters.

I think you may have a mite problem or a fungus.  In both cases you want to dust the hens {all of them and their coop} with sevins dust.  Yes it is safe to put directly on the hens.  Use a salt shaker with the dust in it that works bests.  This time of year brings mites and fungus issue into view. 


edited to add: make sure you dust your arms and hands first before handling the hen to put dust on, if it is a mite problem they will run up your arms.  You have to ruffle the feathers to make sure the dust gets to the skin. 


Try this and in a few weeks you should see results.


Edited by LilBit - 4/8/09 at 12:43am
Mom of 1, Grandmom of 3, MIL of 1, Also Mom of 6 dogs, 5 cats, 1 chinchilla, 2 ferrets, 1 rabbit, 2 turtles, 2 parakeets, roosters, hens, 1 pony and numerous field cows.  Its a wonderful life!
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Mom of 1, Grandmom of 3, MIL of 1, Also Mom of 6 dogs, 5 cats, 1 chinchilla, 2 ferrets, 1 rabbit, 2 turtles, 2 parakeets, roosters, hens, 1 pony and numerous field cows.  Its a wonderful life!
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post #4 of 33
Thread Starter 

Hmmm....I never thought about mites!  Would it only be on one hen and wouldn't I see the mites?  I will take a close in the morning!  Do mites only live where fleas do?  The reason I ask is because fleas cannot live here.  Not sure why...I just know we don't have fleas (elevation, temperature..not sure).  Thanks! I will look into the mites thing and makes sure it gets treated it that is the cause!

SpeckledHills...goo point! I will add to the title that it is NOT a rooster!

Ok...from what I have read quickly about mites, it is best to check the vent area and preferably at night.  I just went out to the coop (at 1:40 am and it is freezing!) and checked my girls.  All chicken butts checked (particularly Dot) appear clean, normal and mite-free. I will check their feathers in the morning, but so far, so good.


Edited by BarkerChickens - 4/8/09 at 1:43am
I'm Shelby!! My wonderful hubby and I have 15 hens (1 Delaware, 1 white Leghorn, 2 mottled Javas, 2 Buckeyes, 2 barred Rocks, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 4 Easter Eggers, 4 Jersey Giants and 4 Welsummers), 1 roo (barred rock), 4 dogs, 2 cats and 3 rabbits...and all spoiled!!
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I'm Shelby!! My wonderful hubby and I have 15 hens (1 Delaware, 1 white Leghorn, 2 mottled Javas, 2 Buckeyes, 2 barred Rocks, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 4 Easter Eggers, 4 Jersey Giants and 4 Welsummers), 1 roo (barred rock), 4 dogs, 2 cats and 3 rabbits...and all spoiled!!
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post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 

OH! I guess I should add that she molted late this season and and is just now getting the last of her pin feathers in.  She is laying again and looks fully feathered (minus her back), but upon close inspection she has a few pin feathers here and there.  Maybe it is itching from molting?

Also, checked here again this morning (thoroughly) and I do not see any signs of mites or lice.

I'm Shelby!! My wonderful hubby and I have 15 hens (1 Delaware, 1 white Leghorn, 2 mottled Javas, 2 Buckeyes, 2 barred Rocks, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 4 Easter Eggers, 4 Jersey Giants and 4 Welsummers), 1 roo (barred rock), 4 dogs, 2 cats and 3 rabbits...and all spoiled!!
Reply
I'm Shelby!! My wonderful hubby and I have 15 hens (1 Delaware, 1 white Leghorn, 2 mottled Javas, 2 Buckeyes, 2 barred Rocks, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 4 Easter Eggers, 4 Jersey Giants and 4 Welsummers), 1 roo (barred rock), 4 dogs, 2 cats and 3 rabbits...and all spoiled!!
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post #6 of 33

Maybe it is indeed leftover growing in of molted feathers? I've had hens be months in regrowing.
Note: I'm thinking Sevin dust is supposed to be bad to get on you--especially bad for you to breathe in. Check the label to be sure. I'm thinking it says you should wear rubber gloves (which I do) and a dust mask (which I don't bother to do but probly should with all the dust that ends up flying around) while applying.

 

Please visit SOCIAL ISSUES page.

 

Chickens are a joy.

 

www.PoultryPedia.com  ~  HOW TO:  Treat Leg Problems  •  Choose & give Chicken Medicines  •  Super-Glue Wounds  •  Remove Rooster Spurs  •  Identify Breeds  •  Promote Peace in Your Flock  •  & More

Reply

 

Please visit SOCIAL ISSUES page.

 

Chickens are a joy.

 

www.PoultryPedia.com  ~  HOW TO:  Treat Leg Problems  •  Choose & give Chicken Medicines  •  Super-Glue Wounds  •  Remove Rooster Spurs  •  Identify Breeds  •  Promote Peace in Your Flock  •  & More

Reply
post #7 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeckledHills 

Maybe it is indeed leftover growing in of molted feathers? I've had hens be months in regrowing.
Note: I'm thinking Sevin dust is supposed to be bad to get on you--especially bad for you to breathe in. Check the label to be sure. I'm thinking it says you should wear rubber gloves (which I do) and a dust mask (which I don't bother to do but probly should with all the dust that ends up flying around) while applying.


Since it doesn't seem to be anything too serious and their isn't blood, etc. Maybe we should start with blue kote and see if it helps.  If they are late pin feathers, maybe the occasional pin feather on a bare back is attracting a peck here and there.  I'll see how that works for a few days and if it doesn't seem to help (ie, pin feathers are coming in yet), then I will try the dust.

I'm Shelby!! My wonderful hubby and I have 15 hens (1 Delaware, 1 white Leghorn, 2 mottled Javas, 2 Buckeyes, 2 barred Rocks, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 4 Easter Eggers, 4 Jersey Giants and 4 Welsummers), 1 roo (barred rock), 4 dogs, 2 cats and 3 rabbits...and all spoiled!!
Reply
I'm Shelby!! My wonderful hubby and I have 15 hens (1 Delaware, 1 white Leghorn, 2 mottled Javas, 2 Buckeyes, 2 barred Rocks, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 4 Easter Eggers, 4 Jersey Giants and 4 Welsummers), 1 roo (barred rock), 4 dogs, 2 cats and 3 rabbits...and all spoiled!!
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post #8 of 33

We have a 11 month old black astraulorp with a worn, broken-feathered patch on the top of her right  wing, which sounds similar to what you're describing, barkerchickens, and I'm curious how your situation resolved itself. I thought it was perhaps a molting issue, but I'm not so sure after reading this post. I'll check for mites this evening.
(We have 4 hens, same age, in a backyard coop in Colorado.)

post #9 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sueami 

We have a 11 month old black astraulorp with a worn, broken-feathered patch on the top of her right  wing, which sounds similar to what you're describing, barkerchickens, and I'm curious how your situation resolved itself. I thought it was perhaps a molting issue, but I'm not so sure after reading this post. I'll check for mites this evening.
(We have 4 hens, same age, in a backyard coop in Colorado.)


It hasn't resolved itself completely, but it isn't getting any worse.  I still have yet to see evidence of mites and the other hens are leaving her alone.  I still think that it may be from her and Pia (another hen) fighting over the nest (when Pia wants the nest she gets aggressive and will scratch and bite...aside from that she is the sweetest hen we have (yes, there are other nests, but that is irrelevant to her)). I am wondering if it may be irritated from the sun too and that it itches her.  She has pin feathers growing back, but they are few and far between and get raggity pretty quick.  I have been trying Vicks, but it wears off quicker than I can get put it back on.  I'm thinking that I need to make a saddle for her to keep it covered.

I'm Shelby!! My wonderful hubby and I have 15 hens (1 Delaware, 1 white Leghorn, 2 mottled Javas, 2 Buckeyes, 2 barred Rocks, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 4 Easter Eggers, 4 Jersey Giants and 4 Welsummers), 1 roo (barred rock), 4 dogs, 2 cats and 3 rabbits...and all spoiled!!
Reply
I'm Shelby!! My wonderful hubby and I have 15 hens (1 Delaware, 1 white Leghorn, 2 mottled Javas, 2 Buckeyes, 2 barred Rocks, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 4 Easter Eggers, 4 Jersey Giants and 4 Welsummers), 1 roo (barred rock), 4 dogs, 2 cats and 3 rabbits...and all spoiled!!
Reply
post #10 of 33

I have a similar problem.  No roo, one hen with a bare spot on her back above the tail feathers.  Some days it looked red and raw in spots, and some not.  I tried Vicks, Neosporin, Vaseline, and tea tree oil.  I have checked and rechecked for mites or lice, and dusted and redusted with DE.  Finally put a saddle on her.  The feathers have not regrown under it but at least it does not get red or raw any more.  Used the easy no-sew one described here somewhere, cut from polarfleece, even skipped the tail section and just cut two wing holes.  Doesn't solve the mystery, though.  She has no other symptoms, and is laying.  She free ranges all day.

Ventilation -- may be the most important aspect of coop design

BYC Troubleshooting article -- click here

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

14 hatchery and mutt hens

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Ventilation -- may be the most important aspect of coop design

BYC Troubleshooting article -- click here

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

14 hatchery and mutt hens

Reply
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