Chickens Look "Plucked", HELP??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by The Monkey Mama, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. The Monkey Mama

    The Monkey Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Kennesaw, GA
    My sister has 4 hens in a very large area - they have a nice set up, plenty of food, water, protein, toys, room - lots of stuff. They are spoiled completely.

    Two of the four have been getting picked for a few weeks now and have bald spots on their backs near their tails. No idea why - these birds are not stressed in *any* way that I can tell and all 4 of them lay eggs almost every day.

    BUT, the real problem is the black australorp - she is not getting picked, but her feathers are falling out.

    She's going bald actually - her whole underside is now bald [she looks like a plucked chicken you could buy at the store], and now her neck and back are going bald. She lays like crazy - she only took one day off in the last 30 days. She is also young - I hatched her out back in July of last year - so maybe 9 months old?

    If it were fall and she were a year old and not laying, I'd guess she was going through a *really* hard molt, but she's not - and she's still laying well. [My sis says she looks like she has the mange!]

    What is wrong with her? Has anyone seen something like this? What can we do to help her?

    My poor Sis is so upset - she treats these hens like her babies and tries so hard to pamper them. I feel bad because all 4 hens came from my stock, but I never had any trouble with them or any of their siblings that I have still. And I know she takes really good care of her hens, so it isn't "her".

    It seems like she's having really tough luck [she recently bought some very expensive chicks from a guy near her and they are very sickly and dying off too They are kept completely separate from the big hens though].

    Now one of her other hens, an ameraucana, has started going bald on her neck under her beak. We are worried it is something contagious.

    She has seen no sign of mites, they don't appear to be scratching or pulling their own feathers out.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks!

    Kelly
     
  2. pw_quiltworks

    pw_quiltworks One Handy Chick

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    I can only tell you how mine lost feathers and died. It was from the pine bedding. It ate too much of it over a months time. It lost a lot of feathers but being young chickens I didn't notice until it was too late. I don't have a lot of experience with chicks. I also changed the feed once to pellets for my hens. Big mistake. They would not eat it.

    Has she done anything different like change the feed or bedding. I am sure there are others on here that know a lot more than I do and could probably give you some better answers.
     
  3. MoodyChicken

    MoodyChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2009
    Northern California
    Quote:Woah, what did the pine shavings do? And how many feathers is a lot? Like a few here and there or "bam you're naked!"
     
  4. pw_quiltworks

    pw_quiltworks One Handy Chick

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    Quote:Woah, what did the pine shavings do? And how many feathers is a lot? Like a few here and there or "bam you're naked!"

    The chick would pick the shavings off another chick that rolled in the shavings. I guess it would eat the stuff. I think a piece got caught somewhere on the way out through and the chick just didn't get enough nutrients in it's system. At the end it was just sad. I could not let it live any longer. The wings started sagging and then it couldn't get up. It would eat like a pig and drink water right to the end. At that time I had it on towels so it wouldn't eat anymore of the shavings. Too late. It also had blood in the stool. I think a piece of the shavings was caught near the vent. Maybe. With mine the new feathers did not grow in. It never went outside so it could not have caught anything.
     
  5. MoodyChicken

    MoodyChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2009
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    Confirmed that was the case? The gizzard should have taken care of that. Poor guy though.

    To the OP, hens can still lay during a molt, even a heavy molt. It's not common, but determined layers will keep at it. She's a gutsy girl. I wouldn't worry too much. My layers pluck themselves all the time for no good reason, and they're all very happy and healthy. Has she gone broody? Broodies pluck their underbellies so that they can keep the eggs warmer with their bare skin (no feathers to block heat) and to soften the nest. Are there small holes in the feathers? Feather mites burrow into the feather shaft, causing the feather to break off near the skin. Either way, up their minerals and reduce stress levels.
     
  6. The Monkey Mama

    The Monkey Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Kennesaw, GA
    Thanks!

    It isn't a bedding issue, they aren't eating bedding or anything.

    Thanks Moodychicken for letting me know this happens with your birds sometimes too. She doesn't appear to be broody [not trying to set or anything, still laying virtually every day].

    I'll let my sister know. [​IMG]

    Kelly
     
  7. pw_quiltworks

    pw_quiltworks One Handy Chick

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    Quote:I really do believe it was that because they get medicated feed and are inside the house here. I really think it was a piece of the bedding. The others are all fine and healthy. I suppose it could have been born with something. It was fine for a month though. The wings started sagged then it could not stand and there was blood in the stool. I should have done an autopsy. Too late now.

    Kelly please let us now how your sister makes out with this. I am pretty new to chickens and anything new I can learn is always helpful.
     
  8. mylilchix

    mylilchix Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would treat for mites just in case. It's better to be safe than sorry. Altough we had a pecking order shake up in my flock that caused a horrible case of pecking. Most of my flock looks awful. A good chunk are missing back feathers from my overly amorous roo. I took him out and they started pecking out tail feathers and neck feathers. I've watched some my sweetest hens eat all of the feathers from a faverolles muff!! [​IMG] So, treated for mites just to be sure that wasn't the issue. I started giving extra treats like hanging a cabbage, gave them BOS for extra protein, and then a friend suggested I give them more meat. So all lean meat scraps are heading to the coop, and it seems to be helping. During the summer the hens could eat bugs, they don't get that during the winter. In my case they started pecking eachother because they needed the nutrition that the bugs offered. My flock is only 10 months old, so we're in the same boat! Sorry I rambled.

    Sonja
     
  9. Tabby

    Tabby New Egg

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    Oh my gosh, Mama Monkey! Your situation is EXACTLY mine! I have only 6 hens. 2 Amercaucana, 2 Buff Orps, and 2 Black Australorps. My Australorps are all but naked! All 6 are a year old, I do have pine shavings. This feather loss started about mid winter. Everyone else is just fine, but my 2 "problem children" look like a couple of Dr.Suess characters. They are laying great, and I upped the protein in their feed. I'm at a loss too. I'm so embarrassed when people ask "ouuu.....what's wrong with your chickens?" I too treated for mites.

     

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