Broken feathers. What is going on?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Anna-MN, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Anna-MN

    Anna-MN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I went out to the coop this morning and I noticed that my three Welsummers were missing feathers right before their tail. I picked up each one and looked closely at the feathers and they are snapped clean off half way up the shaft. It looks like someone cut them with scissors. I have two Blue Andalusians that are the same age that aren't having this problem (thought maybe they were molting?). All my other birds aren't having this problem either. My Welies are 11 months old. I don't have a rooster and have never had a problem with an aggressive hen picking fights either. I don't see any mites or other critters. What the heck is going on?!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    It's not molting. I would guess the other hens are picking the feathers.
     
  3. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    If it's feather picking, use some anti-pick lotion/spray on the areas and make sure their nutrient level is adequate for feather growth.

    Autumn and Winter is high time for lice. Loss of feathers around the vent and scabs are usually a sign of possible lice. Check their bodies in a well lighted area and see if you find any rapidly moving bugs or little red or dark specks congregating around the vent. If you do, use a pyrethroid spray can be used as treatment. Don't get it in the eyes or directly on the vent. A few brands are Adam's flea and tick, Frontline spray, or Martin's Horse and Stable spray. If you don't see bugs, let us know.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  4. Anna-MN

    Anna-MN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I didn't see any bugs today. I'm just confused at why only the Welies would get picked on. I'll keep watching them closely....
     
  5. rbaker0345

    rbaker0345 Big Mamma Brahma

    I read a thing in BYP magazine that picking is really common during the winter with cooped up birds. They suggested putting a bale of alfalfa hay in the coop to give the pickers something to do with their pent-up energy besides pick on the more retiring birds.

    I didn't feel like getting a bale of hay so I got a non-medicated goat block. It seems to be working great. It gives Rose the bully something to do besides bullying everyone else. And its very nutritious. Just make sure that its non-medicated.
     
  6. Anna-MN

    Anna-MN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a scratch block specifically for chickens that is out there that they don't seem to care about in the least bit. It has all of their favorites in it. I will try the alfalfa next and hopefully that helps. Who knows, maybe the Welies are getting a taste of their own medicine because they used to be very mean to the baby birds...
     
  7. Anna-MN

    Anna-MN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
    This is a picture of one of them this morning. I thoroughly checked EVERYONE in the coop for bugs and saw not a trace of anything on them. The picture is kind of deceiving.
     
  8. Anna-MN

    Anna-MN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone?
     
  9. jmscheshire

    jmscheshire Out Of The Brooder

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    I am noticing the same problem on my chickens, can't figure it out. I've been using d.e. very liberally on their dirt and putting it on their bodies, even sprayed permethrin around their roosting areas and used permethrin dust on their bodies (a very thorough dusting with special attention to their vents and skin). I cannot see any mites, lice, etc. either. It is very frustrating. It seems like it is happening at night because when I go visit them in the morning more feathers will be gone or broken down to the nub. I've carefully looked at the surrounding roost areas (I go in at night with a flashlight) and there are no signs of bugs or mites anywhere. If it is some mite infestation or parasite problem, My vet also suggests giving them Sevin dust baths and administering ivermectin 1% injectible (a couple drops on the back of their necks), but I don't feel comfortable doing these drastic things yet because I cannot see any signs of mite infestation. Could this be some type of microscopic feather mite problem? What kinds of conditions cause feathers to break? Their droppings do not look like they have any type of worm and they are not acting like they have gape worm. Hopefully someone has some suggestions?
     
  10. ChinoChix

    ChinoChix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I came here hoping to find some answers for why 4 of my 6 girls have these broken feathers on their rumps like the picture. All three Wyandottes have these fuzzy looks with snapped off feathers and my little Polish looks a wreck missing feathers on the back of her neck and under her chin.
    I feed them an organic, soy-free mash with 16% protein and they get lots of fresh veggies, broccoli, cabbage, collards, mealworms and they live in a large tack shed and a large enclosed outdoor run.
    I have checked for bugs and don't see anything.
    The feathers actually look like a *V* on the end, like they are snapped off? And underneath is this fluffy grey *fur*. I'm out there often with them and don't see them over-picking at each other? They are just one year old. They sleep 5 feet off the ground with a reptile bulb....do you think the heat is doing it? I don't think it's mice as I've read elsewhere.
    I'm at wits end! They look a MESS! I'm still getting 4-6 eggs a DAY so I don't think it's molting???
    [​IMG]
     

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