Chicken losing feathers on head and neck...what is going on?

PrairieHollow

In the Brooder
Nov 28, 2021
6
18
21
Hi- I have 16 chickens and 1 of them, a blue laced gold wyandotte, age 8 months, started losing feathers from her head about 2 weeks ago. The feather is gone, but the shaft is still intact for most if not all of them. just yesterday, my son noticed the feathers on the back of her neck are now gone, all but the shaft. If we look under wings, through her other feathers, there are some, not nearly as many, with the feather missing, shaft still there. We are new at this, just got our chicks in March as day old chicks. We have no rooster, and I have not noticed this chicken getting picked on when I am out there, but I am not out there all the time. They have a good sized coop, 6 nesting boxes, and a good sized run that is fully fenced and covered. They are on Grubbly Layer feed, supplemented with occasional veggies/fruit scraps, and soldier grubs. I don't believe she is losing weight, seems to eat when the others are eating. This is the only affected chicken so far. I have seen no bleeding or other form of injury in looking at her feathers. I'm not sure what her poop looks like, but will try to watch for that as I observe her to get an idea.

So far, we've determined it's unlikely to be moulting due to her young age (and nobody else has this happening either), so we figured maybe it's mites or lice, although we haven't seen evidence of either when we initially examined her. I understand the mites come out at night, so we may need to visit the coop at night and see if we can find anything. I see no blood spots or such on the roosts in the coop. We didn't notice any clumps of eggs or any bugs on her when we looked her over either, but will check her over again today to see if we find anything new. In the interest of trying to help her and prevent others from getting it if it is mites or lice, we added diatomaceous earth and wood ash to their dust baths, added garlic granules to their feed, and cleaned out the coop really well and put down diatomaceous earth on the floor, nesting boxes, roosts. We also put diatomaceous earth on her, which she promptly dusted herself with, have done that a few times a few days apart.

The bedding we are using is the pine flake bedding from Tractor Supply. Out in the run, it's mostly dirt, with some straw (we give them a straw bale every so often).

I am not sure what to try next, or how long it might take for feathers to grow back or what that looks like, so any help there would be appreciated. We are hoping to stay as natural and wholistic with what we do to treat the chickens, so the more natural the treatments the better. I worry a little that if she keeps losing feathers, she will be cold as the temperatures drop as winter sets in.

I was considering spraying the coop with a spray of water, vegetable oil and dish soap that I read about on line, but I'm in MN and it's below freezing most of the time now (although we'll be in the 40s during the day this coming week, so may be an option). I read somewhere about giving some kind of bath, but not sure what to bathe her with or if that would be helpful. Also read about a garlic juice spray that can be made and sprayed on the chicken. Probably have to blow dry her after that in a warmer area.

I am trying to get some pictures of her to add to this post, but I wanted to get it out there as soon as I could to try to get some help for this sweet little chicken. I'll try to add some pictures as soon as I can get a couple good ones so you can see what she looks like.

Any ideas that you have that could help? Thanks so much!
 

PrairieHollow

In the Brooder
Nov 28, 2021
6
18
21
I am now posting some pictures, to hopefully help figure this out. We noticed today that there is a lot of dry flaky skin in these areas where she is losing feathers. You can see the flakes on my son's gloves in one of the pictures. Let me know what you think!
Thanks!
 

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HeatherKellyB

"One day or Day one"
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2019
5,513
13,024
737
Moore County, NC
Since she has pins already growing in, this looks like she's molting, in my personal opinion. They do tend to get dry skin while molting. Hopefully someone else will be on to help soon.
 

kurby22

Crowing
Apr 12, 2021
1,834
4,846
406
Sacramento Area, California
Looks like new feathers coming in to me. The dry flaky stuff is pieces of the feather sheath coming off as she is replacing feathers! A bunch of my pullets are getting new feathers in the neck as well! She’s gonna hate being held or pet until they’re all grown in again too! Might give her extra protein treats to help them grow in strong and healthy. 😍
 

PrairieHollow

In the Brooder
Nov 28, 2021
6
18
21
Thanks, everyone! Looking at her today, we can surely see the new feathers coming out of those shafts on her neck, so we are now pretty confident that it is indeed molting as several of you are suggesting. Thanks for helping us out, newbies that we are!
 

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