Chickens look horrible-can't be molting can it?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by nconley11, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. nconley11

    nconley11 Just Hatched

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    Hi! First post here! Only been a member for 5 minutes lol! Looking forward to some awesome feedback! This is a long story so I'll make it short if possible. Built my coop in late fall specifically to save some egg layers from being butchered. They arrived at my house while I was not there. I saw them for the first time two or three days later and realized they were loaded with lice and mites. I treated with topical Ivermectin roughly once a week for 3 weeks. And ever since then they have had access to tenacious earth almost 24/7. I have yet to see any actual bugs in the chickens since we first treated, but the nits are still present. My first ? Is are the nits still alive or can I safely assume they are dead?

    The story now continues with me rescuing more chickens. I knew I shouldn't bring more into the flock when the originals still had nits but I had to. I have had these new chickens for probably 2 months already. They look absolutely gorgeous and there are some roosters in the group. However a handful of the original chickens that still have the nits present are losing feathers or are completely broken and just look awful. All the new chicken still look great. I have a total of 17 chickens in a 8 by 8 by 8 foot coop but they have access to a 25 by 30 foot yard on a daily basis. I'm not sure if these original chickens are starting a molt (I've never seen one but I feel it's not the right time of year for molting. However we have had an unseasonably warm winter) or if the other chickens are maybe trying to pick the nits off. Most of the fathers missing are on the back and wings of the chicken where the nits aren't really present. They are fed a mixture of egg laying mash and cracked corn with daily produce.

    I am on the go right now so I will add pictures soon. Any ideas, tips, or advice as to what's going on or what to do would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    1. How old are the layers with the nits? That can be a clue as to molting or not.

    2. Do any of the rooster have spurs? The spurs can tear out feathers in the areas I think you are describing.
     
  3. nconley11

    nconley11 Just Hatched

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    Honestly I don't know how old the ones with the nits are. All last summer they were already laying so that means they are over a year. The new batch including the roosters are roughly 5 months. I'll post pics within an hr
     
  4. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    Okay, so the roosters shouldn't have spurs yet. The could still be tearing them up, but probably not like what you are talking about.

    As far as right time of year for molting, my EE started molting right at a year old in late November and my RIR is doing a light molt right now at 15 months old, so I don't think they are paying attention to what the poultry husbandry books are saying lol
     
  5. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Hi[​IMG] Welcome To BYC

    It's possible the nits could still be alive (slowly hatching out) and causing problem. Usually treatment would need to be apply every 7 days to get any hatching nits. I believe the casings (look somewhat like q-tips) may remain until molt. If you aren't sure all the lice/mites are gone, then treating all the chickens and coop with a poultry dust or spray would be in order (treat then wait 7days and treat again).

    Molting has more to do with age than season. So it's possible that your girls may be beginning to molt. Look for new growth and pin feathers coming in to replace what is being lost. Missing feathers on the back and wings could be from treading, generally these places are the first to lose feathers with an "ambitious" young cockerel.

    Make the layer mash available free choice during waking hours. Don't mix the corn with the feed - cracked corn can make a fine treat, but limit daily intake of treats to no more than 5-10% of daily intake. Personally if you have a mixed flock (different ages and genders) I would feed an All Flock/Flock Raiser formula with oyster shell provided free choice for the actively laying hens.

    Look for to seeing your photos[​IMG]

    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/08/poultry-lice-and-mites-identification.html
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1151513/pesticides-approved-for-poultry
     
  6. nconley11

    nconley11 Just Hatched

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    [​IMG]

    Its taken 15+ min just to upload this one pic. I took a lot more tho
     
  7. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Looks like it can be a combination of treading, feather picking and lice/mites.

    Offer them some extra vitamins in their water a couple of times a week. If you stick with layer mash, add some extra protein to their diet with eggs, tuna, mackerel or meat. They won't grow out new feathers until they go through a molt. You can put chicken saddles on them to help protect their backs and possibly deter some plucking. For the dry areas you can apply some A+D ointment or castor oil to help the skin to heal.

    Watch to see if they are picking at one another or if they are picking at themselves. Also watch them during roosting time, this seems to be a time when a lot of feather picking can go on.

    If they don't regularly dust bathe, then provide them with a sandy/loose dirt area to take dust baths.
     
  8. nconley11

    nconley11 Just Hatched

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    These 3 pics r the same bird. Previous pic is another one. These 2 are the worst. There is maybe 2 others that are just barely showing some feather ware. The 2 pictured seem underweight compared to others too. Lastly, I usually get about 5 or 6 eggs a day, sometimes more. I didn't think the newer chickens are old enough yet to lay and i only have 6 from the original chickens so whatever this is doesn't seem to be affecting their laying.
     
  9. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    If you have a vet that can test a fresh poop sample for worms that would be a good idea.

    You mention that they seem underweight. Check your layer mash, if it's only 16% protein, then limit the amount of corn and treats you give daily. Anything you add to their diet will dilute the protein content that they consume. As mentioned in my previous posts they may benefit from extra protein, so do some research/reading on that.

    The feathers will look ratty until they molt. Personally I would re-check for lice and mites. The feathers look like they are stripped, so the hens may be doing some of the damage to themselves and each other - watch them to see if that is happening. Also a cockerel can cause damage fairly quickly, so watch that behavior as well.
     
  10. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    That second chicken is showing classic cockerel damage in all the usual places.... back of the head, shoulders and back. Her feather quality is also very poor and I wonder if this is due to the Ivermectin.... I think I've read that it can affect feather regrowth quality if used during moult.
    Chicken saddles will help prevent further damage or remove the cockerel from the equation for a few months or permanently for that matter. They will almost certainly be happier without him on their backs.
     

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