Chickens losing tail feathers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Briyon, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. Briyon

    Briyon Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2009
    Richmond, VT
    I have 10 laying hens (5 Buff Orps and 5 Auaracanas). I got them on June 26th 2009 as day old chicks. I noticed that about 4 of them are losing their feathers near their tail. See the pictures of one of the Auaracanas below. Can anyone tell me what this might be? I am in Vermont and have a heat lamp in the coop. The coop stays at between 40 and 50 degrees at night. They have access to an outdoor pen during the day.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks,

    Brian
     
  2. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    You should check for mites. But, my bet is one of your girls is picking feathers off of their pen mates.
     
  3. skyedobb

    skyedobb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 17, 2009
    Quad Cities, IA
    I agree.
     
  4. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

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    Oberlin, OH
    I have to say I agree with the others only because I have seen my barred hens sit on the roost and pick the feathers off my rooster's neck and he just sat there and let them do it. [​IMG]
     
  5. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2009
    Purchase some blue kote and apply it to the area. It should discourage picking but I can't guarantee it. Are the other hens eating the feathers they are picking? You might need to up the protein they are receiving in their diet. Do that by adding scrambled egg, some cooked ground meat, a left over chicken or turkey carcass from your dinner or a handful of cat food everyday for a bit.

    See if that helps. I'm also wondering how crowded they are. Each hen should have at a MINIMUM 4 square feet per bird.

    Let us know how it goes:)
     
  6. Briyon

    Briyon Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2009
    Richmond, VT
    I will buy some blue kote. Do you think a local farm and garden store would carry it or is it something I need to order on line? I did find some on the web at...

    http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/blue_kote_wound_dressing.html

    I am surprised that this bird is being pecked. She seemed to be one of the more dominent chickens in the group. There are 2 or 3 others that have the same issue only not as bad. Same area though.

    I have 10 chickens and that is one over the 4 sqft minimum. I had to order a minimum of 5 per breed. One of them...that is always being picked on... is blind in one eye. She has been since she was real young. I just have not had the heart to cull the group down to 9. I do have the outdoor pen (6 x 12) also so I was hoping that the extra room would make up for the extra chicken.


    Brian
     
  7. skyedobb

    skyedobb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 17, 2009
    Quad Cities, IA
    They sell Blu-cote at both of my local ag/feed/farm/ranch supply stores in the livestock section. I've used mine for things such as this and it works great. Careful - it will stain whatever it touches!
     

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