4 year old hen is missing all the feathers from her underbelly

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by emilysaurus, May 21, 2011.

  1. emilysaurus

    emilysaurus Out Of The Brooder

    21
    0
    24
    Mar 28, 2011
    Oakland, CA
    We adopted our 5 hens 20 days ago. 4 of them are 6-8 months old and one, Sunny Side-Up, is 4 years old. We were told ahead of time that Sunny was no longer laying. When she first came to us she was sitting in the nest box a lot, but she didn't put up any resistance when we kicked her off of it from time to time. There's only one nest box so the other hens also kicked her off when they needed to lay. After the first week Sunny was no longer trying to hang out in the nest box all day, but we noticed that her underside was featherless and very red and raw. She seems healthy otherwise, as do the other 4 hens who each lay an egg a day. There's only a small amount of squabbling each night over roost spots. We are unsure if the loss of feathers occurred after coming to us or before.

    Is Sunny's condition self inflicted from broody-like behavior, did the other hens do this to her, or is it something else completely? When will the feathers grow back, and is there anything we should do help her along?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    127
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I'm not 100% certain, but I believe those are ammonia burns, from sitting on dirty bedding.

    Also, check closely for mites. However, up on her belly that way, I still think ammonia burns. You see it in commercial chicken house birds alot and it's absolutely horrible.

    What were the conditions like in her former home?
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  3. kelar

    kelar Chillin' With My Peeps

    825
    10
    144
    May 22, 2010
    yacolt
    Make sure she does not have mites or lice first. My guess is that she has done this to her belly from brooding - I've seen them like that before. Not sure why some hens get so raw and inflamed, but I'm betting they will start to grow back quickly now that she has stopped brooding (until next time). The bare spots are from the intense heat generated when brooding.
     
  4. emilysaurus

    emilysaurus Out Of The Brooder

    21
    0
    24
    Mar 28, 2011
    Oakland, CA
    Quote:We aren't very certain what her conditions were like before us as we adopted her (along with 3 6 month olds) from a friend of a friend who said they needed to be re-homed since their owner was moving. Our friend has connections to rescue organizations that take older hens from factories and "save" them from being processed so your theory might make sense here.

    We haven't seen any signs of lice or mites and their new home is clean and new -- we noticed the rawness within the first few days so probably not enough time for ammonia burns here.

    Sounds like we should just wait it out and see if she regrows the feathers. Does it sound right that a 4 year old BO would have stopped laying all together?

    Thank you for your help!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  5. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    127
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:We aren't very certain what her conditions were like before us as we adopted her (along with 3 6 month olds) from a friend of a friend who said they needed to be re-homed since their owner was moving. Our friend has connections to rescue organizations that take older hens from factories and "save" them from being processed so your theory might make sense here.
    We haven't seen any signs of lice or mites and their new home is clean and new -- we noticed the rawness within the first few days so probably not enough time for ammonia burns here.

    Sounds like we should just wait it out and see if she regrows the feathers. Does it sound right that a 4 year old BO would have stopped laying all together?

    Thank you for your help!

    Coming as they *may* have from a rescue type situation the ammonia burns make sense. I'm not saying 100% that's what it is, but that's what it looks like on a commercial bird (only it gets much worse on the CBs before processing time).

    I've had several broodies now. Sure they pull out feathers from their undersides (mostly breast) to line nests with, but none of mine have ever gotten that red and sore looking.

    I'm sorry if I unintentionally came across as sounding as if I felt the living conditions at your coop were to blame. I knew you hadn't had her nearly long enough for an ammonia burn to get that bad. I was just tired this morning and struggling to make sense. (See? Still tired, still not making much sense [​IMG] )


    If she's up and moving around now plus using a roost, that will go a long ways towards helping her heal. If the individual feather is completely gone - shaft and all - it will start to grow back immediately. If the feather is just broken off, but the shaft is intact, it won't grow back until her next molt. You can give her high protein treats to help speed up the process.

    I don't know BOs real well, but I do think 4 y.o. is awful young for a hen to completely stop unless she was also forced to lay continuously through the use of lights (without a chance for a good long molt). I can tell you that I have another LF breed, brahmas. My girls are a little over 3 now and except for a recent upset, are still laying well.

    Good luck to you. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  6. Wynbreaker

    Wynbreaker Out Of The Brooder

    18
    1
    26
    May 28, 2014
    I've got a girl who looks like this. She's eating the eggs too. Comes in nests in one box and I find egg remnants. I thought she was preening herself to destroy evidence of her activity. She seems really sluggish today and one pupil seems un-reactive. I've separated her and removed her from the nesting house. She'll have a box to nest in but it will be outside in a run unoccupied by the flock. I'll put golf balls in her nesting box unless this doesn't help. Then I might just remove the nesting box altogether and keep her quarantined for a bit to see if this helps bring her back to her normal strutting self. I'm eager to see if I get more eggs. I've only been getting 3-6 most days, and I have twelve hens no roosters.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by