Chicken Xperts. . . I Need feather help!(pics) . . UPDATE!!. pg.3

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by azelgin, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. azelgin

    azelgin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, this has me stumped. I posted this same problem back in February. At that time, it was a problem with only one hen. Now, almost everybody is showing some problems. The feathers are not being pecked out. Just the tips are breaking off. At first, I thought the little hen was starting to molt, but now it has been three months and she looks the same. This picture is from February. I didn't bother with a new picture, because she hasn't changed.
    [​IMG]

    The one below is her as a juvenile.

    [​IMG]

    OK, now my GLW roo is starting to get some of the same broken feathers. Here is a picture from back in January.

    [​IMG]

    Here is what things are looking like today:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Both of these chickens are 1 year old. Some of the other affected birds are 14 months. As you can see in the pictures, the feathers are still there, just broken off at the ends. The feather coverage is VERY thick. Heavy down makes it hard to spread them apart to see their skin.

    OK, here's the answers to some of the questions you are sure to ask.

    Have I checked for mites?
    I've looked these guys over so many time I feel like a poultry proctologist. Nothing! No signs of anything moving. No bites. No scabs. No eggs. I've checked at night. I've looked during the day under a 500w halogen flood light. Neck, under the wings, back, breast, vent area. Zilch!

    What are they eating?
    16.5% layer. I've just started allowing them access to some 18% starter/grower with 8% fish meal. They also have free choice oyster shell and free range from 7am, until dark, eating grass, bugs and leaves, picking up grit from the driveway.

    What kinds of treats?
    31% dry cat food, BOSS, scratch, kitchen scraps.

    Housing?
    Each of these birds are in different coops. Run space is about 12 sqft. per chicken. Coop area is 4 sqft. in one, 5 sqft. in the other. Run access 24/7. No sign of mice in the coop. No openings big enough for rats to get in. Fresh water in the coop and outside. Pine shavings in one coop, oak chips in the other.

    Body condition and activity?
    These guys are everywhere. Far from listless and tired. Weight seems about right. It's just the dang feathers look terrible!

    Any ideas? Are they getting too much protein? Mineral problems? I tried to pull out a feather to take a close up picture, but they are really in there good, just very brittle. What now. Regardless of what I do now, they're stuck with these feathers until molt. I just want to make sure the new feathers don't end up this way too.
    Help?
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
  2. peaceful

    peaceful Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could it be some sort of vitamin deficiency is making the feathers weak and break? Like Vit E or something? Just a guess to get you started.
    Other general things you could try are a little apple cider vinegar in their water, offer a supplement of sunflower seeds, and maybe something probiotic? Also some food grade Diatomaceous earth given in some water should rid them of internal parasites if they have any and not harm them if they don't, and sprinkled outside should reconfirm the problem is not bug related.
     
  3. azelgin

    azelgin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the reply. I am really at a lose to figure this out. The farther you get up the feather, the more flexable the shaft becomes. I think that's why just the ends break off. The yget lots of black oil sunflower seeds. When the first hen started having problems, I upped everybody's protien, thinking that was the problem. I've checked the poop for worms. Nothing visible to the naked eye.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
  4. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sunflower seeds actually suspected to absorbs calcium..... which is needed for feather growth...... have you had any problem with soft shelled/ broken eggs....
     
  5. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    either that or they just try to look like a silkie....
     
  6. azelgin

    azelgin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Not a bit. Production is good too. 36 eggs for eggs out of 40 hens yesterday. I have 44 hens, but four are broody right now. The worst looking hen is one of the best layers.
     
  7. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    Sounds like you are going to have to start giving them shampoo's and CONDITIONER!!!... gotta stop those SPLIT ENDS!!

    Wouldn't surprise me if part of the problems is because we are DRYER THAN DRY down here and the wind hasn't stopped blowing in a month.

    Most likely a vitamin deficiency of some sort.

    Good luck and keep us informed.
     
  8. azelgin

    azelgin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Yea, they are looking pretty frazzled. Hmmm? That's it! They're a new variety of chicken. Frazzles.
    Wouldn't surprise me if part of the problems is because we are DRYER THAN DRY down here and the wind hasn't stopped blowing in a month.

    Most likely a vitamin deficiency of some sort.

    I'm starting to think maybe both. Whatever they might be missing in their feed, they could have been getting from the stuff growing around here. I'm hoping when the monsoons start and things turn green, they'll look good again. That will give me until next winter, to figure out what they are missing from their diet. I've been using Arizona Feeds. One of our feed stores has started carrying Purina brands. Thinking of switching over.​
     
  9. azelgin

    azelgin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone else have any Ideas?
     
  10. nnbreeder

    nnbreeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009

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