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Naked Chickens

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Shortly after my hens started laying, some of them began loosing their fluffy little feathers underneath their vent. I asked about it at the feed store, and several folks I've talked to said it was just because they were beginning to lay and it would resolve itself soon. Well... they never went back to normal, so then folks said they were molting and would start to look better when the days got longer. I walked down the road yesterday to see the chickens one of our neighbors have in their yard and those girls look nothing like mine. Their owner said one molted about a month ago, but she only looked scraggly for a couple weeks. My poor little chickens look like they came out of a concentration camp... This is the first time I've had chickens of my own, and they're about 10 months old. It is a mixed breed flock, 1 each: Rhode Island Red, Buff Orpington, EE, Barred Rock, Delaware, and a mutt. Egg production is good considering they didn't have a light most of the winter. I feed them layer pellets, scratch, vegetable scraps/leftovers, sometimes yogurt. I mix grit and oyster shell with their pellets. They are in a coop but I let them scratch around in the yard when I'm home, especially on the weekends. We have hawks that perch in our trees or I'd let them out more... What's really confusing me is that I have one chicken who lives by herself in a rabbit hutch because she almost died, spent a long time living in the house, and I can't get the flock to take her back. She acts more like a little dog now than a chicken anyway... But she still has nice, healthy feathers, and she's been laying since Christmas. Ideas? What am I not doing?

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http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/30190_lucille.jpg

post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 

So I've been reading some older posts trying to figure this out and thought I'd add a few more details.

It is all 6 of my chickens in the big coop. They all started doing this after they began laying.

Their personalities have not changed. My buff orpington and my RIR (the two pictured) are still as sweet and friendly as they have always been. They do not run away or hide, they are not flighty...

Everyone is eating and drinking well. I am greeted by everyone when I take them treats.

There are no other noticeable symptoms - no runny eyes, sneezing, discharge. Poops are normal...

I have not noticed any mites, but I'm not entirely sure what I'm looking for... I've not looked under their wings yet, didn't know to look for them there.

Their eggs are normal. Normal size, normal shape, normal color. Good shells.

I have not noticed them really picking at each other, either. I was afraid it was my barred rock pulling out everyone's feathers, but when I watched for that more closely, that wasn't the case.

???


Edited by imaduck - 2/7/10 at 10:54am
post #3 of 7

The best time to check for mites or lice is when they roost at night. Take a flashlight to examine for bugs around the vents and under the wings, etc.
It might be a combo of mites and molting?

Another thing I thought of was the distance apart of the roosts. Sometimes they will peck each other all night, if they are within reach. My hens pecked my poor rooster almost bald before I figured it out!

Good luck!

Don't get all your exercise leaping to conclusions!

Poultry- they may be your pets, they may be your hobby, they may be your livestock. But remember, if you fall down in the pen, unconscious? They WILL eat you.
Chicken Tender of 20 years

 

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Don't get all your exercise leaping to conclusions!

Poultry- they may be your pets, they may be your hobby, they may be your livestock. But remember, if you fall down in the pen, unconscious? They WILL eat you.
Chicken Tender of 20 years

 

Memorial Thread

Reply
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

thanks for the thoughts. smile i'm realizing now that i posted my question on superbowl sunday, so i'm wondering how many folks read the message board. i cleaned out the coop on sunday afternoon and treated for mites just in case. i've looked the last two nights for little critters, but haven't seen anything... is it typical that if it's mites, they wouldn't necessarily be seen? i've been searching for pictures of other birds infested with mites, but can't find that many. there are lots of pictures of mites, however, just in case anyone was curious! i guess i am just hopeful that someone will look at the pictures i've posted and know what's going on...

post #5 of 7

I had similar problem with my flock. They looked a lot like yours, but not as bad. You can see pics at my blog . I convinced myself it was mites, spent a day cleaning and disinfecting their coop, and then discovered it was one hen that was pecking everyone else bald. I took her out and the others are growing their feathers back. I'd bet it's pecking damage.

2 black copper marans, 1 welsummer, 1 red sussex, 1 buff sussex, and Gulliver and Gazzy: two of the world's best cats.
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2 black copper marans, 1 welsummer, 1 red sussex, 1 buff sussex, and Gulliver and Gazzy: two of the world's best cats.
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post #6 of 7

I had two hens this happened to.  An old farmer at the feed store told me to take the hens and pour Pineolene on the featherless areas.  I did this and the feathers all grew back within a couple of weeks.  I still don't know what caused this, but the Pineolene did fix it.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

if it's a pecking problem, is it normal that all the chickens would have missing feathers like that? even the one doing the pecking? more importantly, what do i do about it? i think i read someone's posts that said isolate the pecking offender for a while to establish a new pecking order. yes? no? how long? help?

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