Cause of feather loss?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tiffanya, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. tiffanya

    tiffanya Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2010
    I have several hens, all with some sort of feather loss. I have a roo and nearly all hens have bare backs (and some at the base of their wings) from him I'm assuming. For a while now a couple hens have looked pretty ragged (broken off feather) all across their backs. Several are also missing feathers from their necks and chests. I thought maybe moulting at first but its been a couple months now so I'm thinking it must be something else. I was worried about lice or mites so cleaned and dusted entire coop with diatom powder. Any ideas? Maybe a combination of things. They all have varying amount of loss so I'm stumped. The best is only missing a few on her back. The worst, really ragged, missing all feathers on neck, back, chest and some on head.
     
  2. kbell

    kbell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am having the same thing go on with my hens, but my Rooster also has the same feather loss on his back and all around his tail too. He is featherless in that area. They look really awful and was wondering what I needed to do. Thanks in advance from Georgia, Kim
     
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Tiffanya, I recommend that you purchase chicken saddles/aprons for your hens to protect their backs and sides from your rooster. There are a few BYC'ers here that sell them. Visually inspect your hens for lice/mites, if you see any, treat with sevin dust. During molt, it takes time to lose feathers and regrow them. Provide your chickens with gamebird feed which has about 22% protein vs 16% protein in layer feed. The extra protein will help with feather regrowth. Even if it's not molt, and due to your rooster mating...the extra protein will help.
    Kbell, inspect your chickens as well for lice/mites, especially your rooster in the areas that he is losing his feathers. If you dont see any, it's safe to figure that it's molt. Same thing as with Tiffanya, extra protein will help in feather regrowth, feeding them gamebird feed. Feather regrowth after molt can take several months. If it's molt or even lice/mites...expect egg production to decrease. Keep in mind that overcrowding can cause feather picking, watch for that as well.
     
  4. tiffanya

    tiffanya Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. My rooster doesn't have any feather loss, which is why I questioned mites or lice. I've looked them over and didn't see anything, but that doesn't mean I couldn't have missed something. I'm not real keen on the aprons. I worry about about how hot they might get and trying to even get them on might be a task. Has anyone separated out their rooster for a time? Did this disrupt the flock much? I just worry that they'll never regrow feathers if they are kept together.
     

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