Hi all, could do with some advice. I have been keeping chickens for over 16 years now but have not ever had this happen before. Out of the nine Pekin hens I have, four of them have sustained extensive feather loss from around their ear region, and extending to their necks. I have not once witnessed any feather pecking tendancies in the brood, so wondered if they may have a mite that is specific to the neck/ear area. All their other plumage is uneffected.
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Many things can cause feather loss in chickens from stress or trauma, of course many parasites can cause feather loss. Some fungus's can cause feather loss especially around the head and neck. Ringworm in particular can cause loss of feathers on the head.
However many times these fungus's and ringworms do not respond well with treatment.
Thyroid issues can cause feather loss. There are also feather diseases that cause loss, however usually the feathers fall out all over the body.
You could try using some dusting powder on them or even some sort of anti fungal/bacteria cream around the area. I once had a parrot that lost a lot of feathers about the face, however she was very old and I attributed it to age.
Wish I had a better answer for you.
Edited by TwoCrows - 5/12/12 at 4:05pm
Thanks for the advice Twocrowsranch, if it is true that stress can cause feather loss, then there is a slim chance that this is what is happening to my flock. I say this because recently, due to three of my hens going into brood mode, I have partitioned off their house to separate each broody. One of the areas that I have taken from the other hens is the original dark end of the house where they normally lay.
Yes, if they are too stressed about the new laying arrangements, it is possible that this is the cause of feather loss.
Good luck with those broodies! I have one girl right now that I am trying to break from broodiness and I know how much anxiety it causes them.
Yeh, I know what you mean when it comes to getting them out of being broody. One method that a friend of mine uses is to simply place the hen in a windy box. This is so named because it is simply framework forming a cube about 0.5m square and constructed with mesh floor and sides. Placed out of the elements, he generally leaves the hen in there for a couple of days. Although it always seems to do the trick, I can't help thinking it is a bit cruel. However, if you have any other method of convincing a bird to give up being broody, I would appreciate you giving me advice on that also.
I have heard you can soak their brood patch/breast in cold water for 10 mins. That is supposed to break the broodiness. Or similar to what you said here, put them in a wire cage. What I have been doing is watching this bird, as she is a daily layer. And I know approximately what time she is supposed to be in the nest box laying. If she goes in too early or after she has layed, I will lock her up in my greenhouse for the rest of the day, or until the time I know she is supposed to lay. She has been trying to go broody for over a month now, and so far this has been working to some degree. Usually by locking her up in the greenhouse for the afternoon, she isn't broody the next few days. If she starts in really really broody, I may just put her in a separate area everyday with no nest box and see if that works.
Good luck with your broodies!
Edited by TwoCrows - 5/13/12 at 2:35pm