5-6 wk old chicks missing back feathers, w/photos

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChrissyNC, May 13, 2007.

  1. ChrissyNC

    ChrissyNC Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 7, 2007
    Richlands, NC
    I came home yesterday after only being gone a few hours, and my Australorp was missing all her pretty back feathers. [​IMG] I moved her to her a large dog kennel with one of my sweet little silkie banties for company. Then this morning when I checked on everyone, I noticed that my Ameracauna is missing back feathers too, though not as many as the Australorp. [​IMG] [​IMG] She has been moved in with the Australorp for now. My 9 standards and 3 banties are still in their large garage brooder because I can't seem to get the coop finished, even though they need to go out NOW. I haven't noticed any aggression or fighting before, and these featherless areas don't have any blood spots, just cleanly plucked out areas. Any suggestions as to what it could be, or how to stop it? (I know they need to go outside asap, but I won't be able to finish the coop until tomorrow evening at the earliest)

    Here's the Australorp, sorry about image quality
    [​IMG]

    Here's the Ameracauna, again, quality not so good
    [​IMG]
     
  2. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

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    Apr 6, 2007
    Iceland
    My Jersey Giant had patches under it's wings at around 4 weeks while she was losing her chick fluff and growing in feathers. It looked like that. It happened a little on my Black Australorp too. As long as it doesn't spread, get red, or get picked at, I'd wait a week and see what happens.
     
  3. ChrissyNC

    ChrissyNC Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 7, 2007
    Richlands, NC
    I was wondering if it was just a part of the normal feathering process, but with the Australorp, she had a back full of featers, and then in a few hours, nothing. And my other Australorp doesn't look any different, she isn't missing feathers like her chickie sibling.
     
  4. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Assuming they are on chick starter and not a lower protein feed...

    Stress, overcrowding, and too much heat are the usual suspects with chicks that age. Once they get out in their coop they'll become less picky.

    At that age those chicks will grow new feathers very quickly. You may want to keep them seperate until that happens though- for most chicks it's just too tempting to eat the newly formed feathers coming in.

    You can also pick up Blu Kote or bitter apple or something like that to spray on the area to keep it from being targeted again. You should be able to find someting along those lines at a pet shop or feed store. It makes the new feathers taste icky so they won't be picked again.
     
  5. mlheran

    mlheran Chillin' With My Peeps

    *squints* I can't really tell, but are there two little black specks on the bird in the bottom pic? Could they be fleas/lice/mites of some kind that are causing the birds to scratch/pick their feathers out? Maybe try looking under the feathers of another area -particularly under the wings and tail- and see if there are any more of them.

    But it sounds like separating them is the best idea. And I agree, it might be good to try something like BluKote if you're sure it's feather picking.

    Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  6. lostinthewoods

    lostinthewoods Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 14, 2007
    Hayward, Wisconsin
    I had the same problem about 2 weeks ago when a friend gave me 11 laying hens. (I already had 23 chicks) We got the hens about 6 at night and by 6 the next morning some of my chicks had no feathers on their backs and really dry skin with a few very small blood spots on them. I dusted them immediately and now they're getting their feathers back. I should have known something was wrong because a couple of the hens are bald so I'm pretty sure they had lice or mites. Live and learn I guess. [​IMG]
     
  7. chknman79

    chknman79 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2007
    Crossville,TN
    lostinthewoods, what so you use to dust with? I have the same problem with one of my 17 chickens.
     
  8. ChrissyNC

    ChrissyNC Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 7, 2007
    Richlands, NC
    I checked all my birds out pretty good for mites or lice, and there doesn't seem to be any. (the black specks in the pics are new feathers just coming in) I am trying a new farm store tomorrow to see if they carry DE just in case. The lady at my local store gave me a look like I was crazy when I asked them if they carried it.

    I seperated the two birds from the rest of the flock, and the feathers seem to be growing back, so hopefully this was just a bump in the road. They all are headed out to the coop tonight!!
     

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