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Barred Rock feather loss

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by FabFable, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. FabFable

    FabFable New Egg

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    May 23, 2013
    I have been devoring the information on this site. I'm new to chickens, have 7 different breeds raised from chicks that are now 5 months old, all hens. Igave rage 2 eggs a day right now. Today I was shocked while petting my Barred Rock she had a bald patch on her back at the top of her tail. She is the only one, her feathers are shiny, she eats well, is high up on the pecking chain. I see no signs of skin, feather or bug issues, the 6 others do not have this spot, only my barred rock. Should I be concerned or looking for other health issues? It's sad to see such a beautiful happy girl with her bald patch.
     
  2. Sandstorm495

    Sandstorm495 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Darwin, Australia
    It's quite possible she could be getting bullied by the other chickens and so they are pulling out her feathers. But as you said she is high up on the pecking chain, I wouldn't be so sure. It doesn't sound like bug issues to me.
     
  3. mithious

    mithious Chillin' With My Peeps

    Can you watch them for a while, over several days and see if she is being picked on? Usually BR's are top hens...as you said, she is high on the pecking order. If she was older, I would think she was going into a molt, but she is too young...I'd keep a close eye on her, if I were you...seems something is amiss, but without more info, it's hard to say.
     
  4. FabFable

    FabFable New Egg

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    May 23, 2013
    Thank you mithious and sandstorm495. I will keep a closer eye on her. This is a dumb question, if others are pulling feathers wouldn't be during the day more than while roosting at night? As I think about it, all the girls are very excited to get out of the coop in the morning, it could be at that time she is getting plucked by her 'sisters'. I ordered her a saddle in case the plucking continues. I read on this forum that is a helpful item to have with feather plucking issues. It's amazing how attached I have become to 'girls'. :D
    Thank you again.
     
  5. Sandstorm495

    Sandstorm495 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No problem, and it's not a dumb question at all. I don't think she would be getting plucked at night. It's more likely to be throughout the day, when they don't want her around, because when they roost at night, they settle down and rest.
     
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The major causes of feather pecking are crowded conditions, boredom and lack of animal protein in the feed.
     
  7. FabFable

    FabFable New Egg

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    May 23, 2013
    Perplexed newbie, now I have two more chickens with feather loss on their backs at the base of their tails. I checked for fleas, ticks, skin itself looks fine. I have cleaned out the coop again, I have used Diatomaceous earth since day one, the coop bedding is cedar shavings I change weekly, nesting boxes have hay also changed weekly - this has been the same, no changes. The only time they are not observed is coop time 9pm to 6am, otherwise family is around. My girls are almost 6 months old, are laying eggs and appear happy and healthy.

    It started with my BR, now my Red Star and Wyandotte are starting to lose feathers in the same area. Along with these three I have one hen each Black Star, RIR, Astralorp, Araucanas, no roosters, for 7 girls total. I ordered a chicken saddle that I was going to use on my BR.

    I feed Scratch & Peck Soy free layer food (16.5% protein) prior to that was Purina grower feed, their water has a splash of apple sider vinegar in it. My coop is 28 sq ft, chickens free range most of the day. The 7 girls share one corn cob or handful of scratch daily, and some fruits. What am I missing?
     
  8. FabFable

    FabFable New Egg

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    May 23, 2013
    I am thinking animal protein may be the key. I will work on the family cutting down the table scraps. Not sure how bored they are because they free range all day and send themselves to bed. I also looked at the timing of this, it was shortly after I switched their food. Any food rating tips?

    This forum is amazing, thank you.
     

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