6wk old chicks with broken back feathers - advice please, pics inside

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Life is Good!, May 7, 2011.

  1. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Love this section of the forum! Thank you for any help...I searched for this topic and did not find an answer specific enough to help me make a decision. My chicks have broken off feathers (and scraped up backs).

    Questions I am seeking answers for: 1)Is there any treatment which could help these chicks re-feather faster?

    2) As they are only 6wks, when will they next 'molt' or change feathers?

    3) How long will it take to re-grow these feathers?


    Answers to Forum questions:

    1) What type of bird , age and weight. Java chicks, about 6wks old, weight varies from 1/2# to 1 1/8#

    2) What is the behavior, exactly. Brooder at farm I purchased them from was quite short - they were scraping their backs on the top of the metal brooder and scraped off a LOT of their feathers. No, this is NOT mites. No, this is NOT feather picking (although they're doing some dominance pecking, that's usually around the head/neck and tail.)

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms? Since purchased at 5wks

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms? Yes, 6 of the 11 purchased have 'bare naked backsides'. Three are extreme, three are more moderate.

    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma. Some bleeding from stress of being moved from farm to our farmette. Treated with neosporin (no pain killer kind) with blue food coloring mixed in. No one local sells blu-kote. Made my own. Worked great. No more pecking from siblings due to attraction to the red color. The white chick in the photos below has a lot of the blue neosporin on her...that's the funny color especially up by her wings and on her hips.

    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation. Metal old-fashioned brooder with brooder lamp lowered in metal housing inside brooder. Lowered area + tall chicks = scraped up backs. Some feather ends (pins) are still intact, but the fluffy feather bit is gone. Some feather ends (pins) are simply not present.

    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all. Completely everything offered! Intake and output seem normal.

    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc. Normal.

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far? Neosporin to heal obvious pecks from siblings. Otherwise left to own skin and feather repair.

    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet? Hoping to do own treatments.

    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help. Pictures of worst two are below, other four are less severe, but also bare to skin with feathers broken off at surface of skin. Remember, the white chick has blue colored neosporin on her hips and her wings where she was bleeding from stress of transport.:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use. Pine shavings 3" deep on raised wooded coop.

    My concerns are they will be bare-naked for a long time yet. After being here for a week, I'm seeing very minimal feather re-growth. White (or black) fluffy downy type feathers, but not the mature feathers which keep rain off! (Downy ones are great for insulating, needed in this cool spring here - but it's rainy too!).

    Thank you for your help.
     
  2. Up-the-Creek

    Up-the-Creek Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 16, 2008
    West Virginia
    I believe all you can do for them is give them time right now and make sure they have good feed and kept warm. They will in time start to regrow their feathers I am sure,..but maybe you could boost their protein to help things move along faster?
     
  3. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,050
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    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Thank you for your reply. I'm hoping feathers return quickly. With our cool spring, I'm waiting for a nice sunny day to take them outside - and they're SO ready! Some of my larger ones are starting to seriously investigate the pop door (which has been kept closed due to cold).

    Didn't know if I needed to lubricate their skin with something like olive oil to keep it from drying out completely. One seems to have some serious dandruff forming! Ewww.
     
  4. lady feathers

    lady feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 29, 2010
    Wonderful idea to make some blukote of your own.... if you can get some though it may be a good idea I generally have seen regrowth start within a few days to a week and dependng on the damage it may be a few weeks until the new feathers cover fully. You may also try to increase their protein levels a bit put them at the higher percentage recommended for starter/grower feed to help tem out a bit with it. I wonder after reading about the previous brooder set up if they didn't burn from a low heat source after they lost their feather cover of the area. Poor babies, good for you for taking them in the condidtion they are in many people would have passed on them!
     
  5. lady feathers

    lady feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 29, 2010
    I know chicken apons are for mating.... but perhaps you could make your own "little chick" pattern and create coats i their feathers don't show any improvement and you are worried about the cold still. Good Luck!
     
  6. Eglyntine

    Eglyntine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 8, 2010
    Reno/Sparks Area, NV
    The first batch of chickens I got that were around 9 weeks old had very similar issues that your chickens have. It could be your water. I know when I have had to give the chickens tap water from this town within a couple of days they look like your pictures and they stay like that until I switch them back to the distilled water. We have a distilled water system in our house so we do not have to lug in bottled water but just making sure they have water with no chemicals or pollution in it really cleared up the problem fairly quickly. Even when they moult it does not last as long as I have seen happen to chickens not drinking good water.

    Just a quick suggestion, try using Bag Balm on them instead of the Neosporin. It is cheaper and it will also keep them from picking each other cause it has a nasty taste. You can get it at any farm supply store, I know Costco and Sam's Club carry it for around $4 for the 10 oz. jar. You can use it for other things too so it is always good to have some around.

    If you do figure out for sure what caused this be sure to let us know what was causing it. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2011

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