BSL Missing Feathers near butt

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dylanwitt, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. dylanwitt

    dylanwitt In the Brooder

    Hello everyone. One of my black sex link hens is missing some feathers near her bottomside and underbelly. I've checked her over and saw that there is no wounds on her or any sign a predator got into the coop. Do you think she could just be molting and the new feathers have not come in yet? There also seems to be some feathers falling out on her upper breast/neck area on the one side. Any help/advice is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Brahma Chicken5000

    Brahma Chicken5000 Araucana Addict

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    Pictures would be of immense help in figuring out what the problem is.
     
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  3. dylanwitt

    dylanwitt In the Brooder

    I can get some of her tomorrow when I get home and upload them then!
     
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  4. Brahma Chicken5000

    Brahma Chicken5000 Araucana Addict

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    Ok
     
  5. Hen Pen Jem

    Hen Pen Jem Crowing

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    Greetings dylanwitt,

    When feathers are missing from the vent and/or belly area, this can mean that the chicken is dust bathing excessively. They will grind their belly area so often that the feathers are buffed off. The vent area too, gets a lot of attention by the chicken. You may notice the chicken preening that area often.

    It's not unusual for a chicken to dust bathe or preen, this is how they keep external parasites in check. But when they do it excessively (almost everyday), to the point of going bald, then, there is an issue.

    Molting has specific patterns of feather loss. The entire feather will fall out, and new feather pins appear soon after.

    But, feather damage is something different. You will not only see bald spots, you may also notice broken feather near the skin on the belly, and feathers that appear thin and in poor quality. Sometimes this can be due to poor nutrition, long term illness, or feather picking from other hens. But, if you see excessive dust bathing that is the clue that will tell you external parasites are most likely the cause. Sometimes, you may even see a chicken walking low to the ground or even take some steps backwards. Long term irritation on the skin can cause some weird behaviors.

    What to do?

    Take another look at the hen, this time, look for anything that looks like potting soil ground into the feathers. This is most likely lice and their debris (tiny, long shapes, dark colored bodies, looks like microscopic sticks) and dirt. You may even see egg clusters at the base of feathers. If it's mites you will seen them crawling around the chicken. Mites are tiny and round shaped. The hen may even have reddened inflamed skin on her belly and around the vent.

    For treatment, if it's just one or two hens, you can give immediate relief by bathing the chicken in some dog shampoo. Then, dry her off with a towel and blow dry her feathers. I like to use Hartz Groomers Best Soothing Oatmeal shampoo for my hens, and for white chickens, Perfect Coat White Pearl Dog Shampoo Coconut. I just shampooed my white hen yesterday, and she was so happy and proud walking around showing off her fluffy feathers! She too, had a balding belly and vent area, broken feathers and poor feather quality. Or, you can just treat the chicken with something for external parasites. There are sprays and powders you can use.

    But, it's Spring and, it really is time to start thinking, if not doing, a good cleaning of the coop. Then, treating it for external parasites, it's good to treat the flock too, since these pests do like to spread the joy. You know how it goes, first one gets it, then everybody has it. I use Elector PSP twice a year on the coop, run, and flock. No treatment will eliminate these pests forever, but, it will keep them from becoming an infestation of biblical proportions! :oops:

    These are my thoughts on a possible reason for your hens missing feathers. I hope they are helpful.

    God Bless and peace to you. :)
     
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  6. dylanwitt

    dylanwitt In the Brooder

    Thank you so much!! I plan on cleaning out the coop this weekend and giving her a bath so hopefully that will help! I’m also uploading some photos here of her as well. I will be sure to do both!
     
  7. dylanwitt

    dylanwitt In the Brooder

    I have these photos of her here, it was raining here today so that’s why it looks even more matted than it really is since they can’t resist rain so hopefully this’ll help
     

    Attached Files:

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  8. Joeschooks

    Joeschooks Just clucking around

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    I’ve got exactly the same thing. Well, not personally, but one of my hens. The feathers often look sort of bedraggled. I’m going to try treating her for vent gleet, see if that makes a difference. But I’d be interested to hear what everyone says.
     
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  9. Joeschooks

    Joeschooks Just clucking around

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    Ps is your girl still laying?
     
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  10. dylanwitt

    dylanwitt In the Brooder

    Yes I believe she still is. Its kinda hard to tell between the girls which eggs belong to who but she seems to lay very large eggs compared to the others when I noticed her once hanging out in a certain area and when I checked back later there was an egg there. Oddly she likes laying wherever but now has grown accustomed to the nest boxes :)
     
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