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2 issues: Impacted crop? Feather loss.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by emilysrad, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. emilysrad

    emilysrad Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2012
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    I have 4 chickens. 2 of them have feather loss, 1 much worse than the other. This has been going on for well over a year. We've tried dusting them with DE 1/month and 1/ 2 weeks with no results. Lately the feather loss looks much worse on the one chicken. I've never seen other evidence of mites or other parasites (inasmuch as i understand them). And 2 of our chickens are unaffected.

    The new issue is her swollen crop. It's pink and blue, which i'm not sure is from being exposed/irritated as related to the feather loss, or if it looks impacted/sour on its own account. We do feed them grass we pull from the yard, and we have been putting a little ACV in their water lately to encourage drinking.

    All investigative questions, pointed diagnoses, and practical advice welcome.

    BYC is giving me a hard time so i uploaded the photos to imgur. http://imgur.com/a/OeIKr

    Thank you!!!!!
     
  2. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 21, 2012
    South West France
    There are some problems with photos on BYC today - hope they fix it soon!

    In the second and third photos, it looks like there are a few pin feathers coming back in on her neck - new feathers that will replace the ones that fell out. However, I have never experienced a long-term moult in any of my girls, and I don't know if it is really possible for them just to moult for so long without there being an underlying condition. It may well be, but I simply don't know enough about moulting to say for sure. Maybe someone else who has more experience of moulting and feather loss will be able to chime in with some ideas.

    With regard to the impacted crop, if you are pulling grass to feed to them then you need to make sure it is no more than an inch or two long (absolute maximum). Any longer and you seriously risk impacting their crops with long pieces that get tangled and won't pass through. If I have to feed hand picked grass I cut it into small pieces with scissors, to avoid any problems.

    Although the crop looks red, it doesn't look extremely huge. Does it empty overnight, or is it as large in the morning as in the evening? If it empties then the crop isn't impacted, so it could just be a skin irritation related to the feather loss. If you suspect an impacted crop there are many suggestions and ideas on BYC, from massaging or feeding tiny amounts of vegetable oil to feeding live maggots that are supposed to eat through the impaction!

    I have had one experience of an impacted crop, and I was lucky that massaging her for a couple of days (almost like milking a cow - smoothing the crop down to try and pass the blockage through) was enough to clear the problem. In extreme cases, where there is simply too much of a ball of material to break down and pass through, the only option is surgery to remove it, but I don't know if your girl looks as if she is at that stage - her comb looks bright red and upright, not floppy and pale, so she must still be getting enough nutrition.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  3. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    I agree strongly with the grass. Do not pull it to feed to them. If you want them to have grass dig up a chunk and let them break it off. Right now though I would not let them at grass at all.


    As to the DE that is useless at killing bugs. Use seven and kill them immediately. Then once again at 10 days to get any hatching ones.
     
  4. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use a pyrethrin (plant based) dusting powder - it works almost instantly on lice and mites, you can literally see the bigger ones dropping off the chickens onto the floor! Another dusting in 10 days and your girls are bug-free.

    I'm not convinced by the claims for DE, so have never tried it (apart from the fact that it's not easy to get hold of in France at a reasonable price!)
     
  5. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes isn't that satisfying! I want to see them drop dead! I tried the DE....still have some in the bag here. It just was not the miracle I needed.
     
  6. emilysrad

    emilysrad Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2012
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    Does the pattern of her feather loss appear consistent with what you've seen from mites/lice on your hens?
    I don't see any bugs living, so i'd be surprised to see any drop dead right off her. :)
    Also it sounds crazy dangerous. I will look into it.

    As for the crop, i will check them first thing in the morning. If they don't empty, i will work on the massage technique. Thank you!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  7. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've never had any major feather loss because of mites or lice on my hens. The huge lice I had were on the 3 new girls that I bought a fortnight ago, from a (supposedly) reputable breeder. They were covered in lice the size of ants - huge white buggers, the like of which I've never seen before, as I occasionally add a small dose of pyrethrin dusting powder to my girls' dust bath, so they never get a major outbreak. When I dusted the new girls it was quite amazing how quickly the powder worked to kill the lice - they literally dropped off the feathers onto the ground! I didn't realise quite how efficient it was as a lice killer - makes it worth the 20€ a 250g container! (Chicken supplies are not cheap in my corner of rural France.)

    I have only experienced a really visible moult on a couple of my girls. They tend to lose all their tail feathers, and quite a lot from around the back of the neck and on their sides. They look really scruffy, but I've never seen bare skin like that on them. Although if you look at the photos of the 'worst moult' competitions they have on BYC you will see some almost completely naked chickens! So I guess my girls have been quite lucky in that department [​IMG]
     
  8. rbaker0345

    rbaker0345 Big Mamma Brahma

    The feather loss looks like picking to me. They are eating each others feathers or someone else is eating their feathers. This kind of pica can be a vitamin deficiency. I had this problem and I started adding a few handfuls of horse manna to each 50lbs of my chicken feed and the behavior has all but disappeared. The red on her crop is a callus because the skin is not protected by feathers. It will rub up against things and create that red callused skin. Their crops don't look especially large but it wouldn't hurt to make sure that they do empty by morning (assuming that you don't provide food or water overnight).
     

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