broken/missing feathers won't regrow

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by NewFlockOnTheBlock, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. NewFlockOnTheBlock

    NewFlockOnTheBlock Songster

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    This is Chanterelle, our friendliest Buff Orpington hen. She is missing feathers on her back and on the tops of her wings. The ones on the back are completely gone; on the top of her wings some are missing completely and others appear to be broken off and the shaft stumps have a sort of a jagged edge. She grew a bit of down to cover a small part of the bald patch on her back but as you can see most of it is still bare, with no sign of pin feathers. Also, Chanterelle's tail feathers look very thin, particularly close to the base.

    This started as feather loss due to over-mating this past summer but our rooster in not mating with Chanterelle much these days, I'd say maybe once a day at the most.

    What do you all think is going on? Could Chanterelle have feather mites or lice? So far I haven't been able to spot any on her but I will bring her inside tonight and will look again with a flashlight and a magnifying glass.

    She is not showing any signs of molting although most of our chickens (13 out of 15, with the exception of Chanterelle and one other hen) have already gone through a molt or are molting currently. None of our other chickens have the same feather problems that she does. Our one other hen that had a bare back due our over-zealous rooster regrew the feathers during her molt.

    I asked previously in a different thread if we should cover her back with a saddle apron and was told that, in this cold weather, I shouldn't, as it can prevent Chanterelle from being able to fluff up her feathers and protect herself against the cold. I'm thinking I might still try it as the area covered by the apron is almost completely devoid of feathers at the moment, so she should still be able to ruffle all of the feathers that she still has, poor girl.


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  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Broken feathers won't regrow unless they are molted out, unfortunately. :hmm

    Her skin look very red and irritated to me. Ouch. :barnie (lighting might be effecting what I am seeing)

    I would not allow the rooster mating her at all... I doubt you are watching always and in her condition... even once is too much in MY opinion. :confused:

    It's true saddles can cause issues, including more irritation to pin feathers and trouble regulating body temp both too warm or cold. I see you are in Washington... how cold are you getting at night?

    It's hard for me to say if there may be mite issues or not with the other known damage. I might treat with pour on Ivermectin ( also treats some worms, egg withdrawal required, and not sure if it's one that shouldn't be used when feathers are growing in) or a permethrin based spray (no withdrawal required, treats most surface pests). I live in the PNW, and most winters have to treat for lice due to abundant wild life. I have also seen mites int he past... but some are microscopic and other only come out to feed while not living on the animal.

    I might try the apron also. Especially if I wasn't gonna separate that boy. I would say pay attention to the hen.. like middle of the night, check if she is shivering.

    Also, would ask what are you feeding including treats and supplements?

    Feathers are made from 90% protein and its' amino acids. So when feather growth is an issue adding in some high quality protein can help. :fl
     
  3. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    Well you definitely have mating damage which will not repair until she moults but I also see what appears to be depluming mite damage where the feathers have a frayed appearance and that would need to be treated systemically with Ivermectin. Permethrin spray or dust will not get them.
     
  4. Shamo Hybrid

    Shamo Hybrid Songster

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    There's a lady here on BYC that makes her own saddles and sells them, you can order one for her..... but I forgot her name, a quick search will probably find do though.
     
    NewFlockOnTheBlock likes this.
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Waiting on a Fresh Garden Salad

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    A couple of my buff Orpingtons have also been a favorite of the roosters probably because up to about a week or two ago they were still laying. They have suddenly began to grow back their feathers in the past week. Both look like porcupines currently. Your hen should still grow them back here within the next month from my experiences with late molters.

    Have you removed that rooster? At least temporarily? Orpingtons can have a looser feather structure so I wouldn't necessarily think mites.
     
  6. NewFlockOnTheBlock

    NewFlockOnTheBlock Songster

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    @EggSighted4Life thank you for helping me think through this! Here are some answers:

    Her skin is really red, you're right. I was worried about it but then someone in another thread told me that it's normal for exposed skin on chickens to become red. So, I don't know what to think... I hope she is not in pain.

    Separating our rooster will wreak havoc on our flock and our sanity... We have some newer hens who still get picked on from time to time, and our guy Peter helps to break up fights. We also do have hawks and eagles that he watches out for. And, he'd be crowing non-stop.

    Nighttime temps have dipped into the 20s recently and this coming week will be as low as 13... We have those flat panel heaters up on the wall along the roost so that helps keep the chickens warmer at night.

    We did two rounds of Ivermectin (injectable, added to the chickens' water) about 6-8 weeks ago. We also used a permethrins spray twice over the summer on the entire flock as well as all all coop surfaces. Since @rebrascora thinks it's mites, we can definitely do an Ivermectin treatment again, either for Chanterelle alone or for the whole flock.

    We recently switched from layer to slightly higher protein grower feed. We also try to supplement protein in some form every day, whether it's dried grubs, cooked eggs, tofu, yogurt, etc.
     
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  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    I have not seen depluming mites before... . I did fear it once... after a hen got into my stag pen and suffered mating damage which looked bad for a while... vet conformed it wasn't THAT time.

    I agreed Ivermectin would treat those, and scaly leg mite... both which are considered not effected by the permethrin products.. as stated they are systemic feeders. However sulfur is considered effective against both as well.

    The irritated skin... seems telling though.. While red could be effected by cold temps... most bare ones I see aren't that bad.

    I honestly don't know the efficacy of using the injectible in the water source.

    YES... I know the havoc that can be caused by a flock members' removal! :he I have considered using a tie out... not for cock fighting but to keep boys with the ladies but only accessed by the ladies choice. :confused:
     
  8. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    I'm not sure that Ivermectin can be used effectively in their drinking water. I've not heard of it being administered that way. Were you using it as a wormer or did you suspect mites then?
    Pour on ivermectin might be the best option. It is absorbed through the skin and treats the bird systemically.
     
  9. NewFlockOnTheBlock

    NewFlockOnTheBlock Songster

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    I was using Ivermectin primarily as a wormer at the time but a friend who has had chickens for over 10 years and has done a ton of research on poultry care told us that using injectable Ivermectin in the water is supposed to be effective for both worms and mites. He does 4 days on Ivermectin, then I believe about 10 days off, then 4 days on again. It appears that our flock does not currently have worms (knock on wood), so it may have helped with that problem, but it certainly didn't help Chanterelle's back.

    Our feed store carries pour on Ivermectin for cattle so I can definitely give that a try. Do you all think I should treat the entire flock, or just Chanterelle? If it's best to treat the entire flock, would it work to treat them one by one? As I wrote above, I worry about spraying them and leaving them wet in the coop given our cold nights. If we treat individually, we can keep each chicken in the house overnight after spraying. In the course of two weeks, we'd get to all of them :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  10. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    You do not want to spray them. The pour on ivermectin is applied with a dropper directly onto the skin by parting the feathers at the back of the neck and only a few drops are required. I would just treat Chantarelle. If you know a cattle farmer they might let you have a tiny amount or the alternative would be to buy an Ivermectin horse wormer and give it orally as a paste directly into the beak. @casportpony can perhaps help with dosage as she is good with medications and calculating the correct amount. She will also know whether the injectable ivermectin will work if administered in the water. It is not the best wormer for chickens and using it regularly can lead to resistance. It may be that you do not have a problem with worms in your climate, rather than that the ivermectin has been effective. I have not wormed my chickens for 5 years and not had a problem with worms. Some people have to worm several times a year to keep on top of internal parasites, so it can vary significantly from place to place.
     

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