We are stumped! When dusting for mites and treating with net tex because we began having serious bald bum issues we found every bird (chickens) is losing feathers badly. We found no mites, but to be safe we changed all bedding and cleaned the coop. We then used powdered 5% seven dust on everything including birds. Several have red bald bums really bad and just below the tail feathers on the back, feathers are gone, but it is not inflammed, then when lifting feathers we saw what looks awful but it isn't red. We have clean coop, feed laying pellets, currently adding vitamins to water daily, and free range. Never see any pecking, all birds seem healthy and happy with good appetites. Some feathers are returning, but very slowly and still very red bums. No blood anywhere. One Buff does not appear to have problem. We thought she was our pecker, but after watching her we don't think so. One Barr Rock hen appears fine. However, she is a new addition, been with the rest for a month. The rest are reds (RI) Even our rooster has the issue. This is the third month and feathers are not returning enough to consider it part of the moulting process in my mind. They are laying very well. We used lime to control odor after heavy rainfall. Can this be the problem? I did not know husband used granules and seems to me it began after the use but not so sure. We used powdered lime the first few times and only in the run not in the coop. Change the bedding regular, and coop is cleaned regular. Good ventilation in coop. Soil is black clay and is awful when it rains, but we also have run covered half way for shelter and to allow sunning during nice warm spring days. They love to sun. They also tend to free range and end up in my flower beds with thick layer of mulch. Could be some mildew involved but, it is the same environment as last year and we had no problems. In fact, everything is the same with the exception of poo build up in run and that is managed as best we can and the use of the wrong form of lime the last time. Any ideas? This is only our second year. Could this be the result of the lime or sign of disease?
Also, need a natural or extremely safe method for controlling odor in run after rainfall. It is not near as bad when the run is dry. Can't shovel ground when it is wet, bad shoulder and back limit the ability to shovel as do tree roots. When it is dry I do rake and shovel the run. We are considering setting a 3"-4" bed of sand. No straw or anything except grass and weed clippings are currently on the ground and they are not noticable by the time the girls get done with it. We have one rooster and seven hens in a 20'X12' run. I was raised to use powdered lime on run and in dog pens for odors. Is this considered a no no these days? Thanks everyone! we are going nuts trying to figure it out.
PS first time user of site so if I do this wrong explain please! Thanks! All4thel8dies.
Edited by all4thel8dies - 5/17/12 at 8:24am