Chickens with bare red bottoms

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by JeannieB, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. JeannieB

    JeannieB New Egg

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    Jan 12, 2010
    I have 4 hens who are approximately 8 months old. On 3 of them, the feathers have been picked clean from their butt/vent areas and I'm now seeing signs of feather picking on the legs and chests of two of them. I have checked closely for mites and see no sign. I have noticed the 4th hen (a buff orpington whose fluffy feathers are completely intact) pecking at the other 3, so I think that she may be the culprit. This began very recently - 3-4 days ago - and there have been no pecking order issues until now. I'm beginning to see scabbed areas on the 3 pecked hens, so I'm becoming very concerned. I'm sure other people have seen this - what can I do? Here's one of their poor naked butts:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  2. briana1975

    briana1975 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2009
    Carleton Mi.
    Did you check for lice? Is the white dry clumpy things near the base of the feathers?
     
  3. JeannieB

    JeannieB New Egg

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    Jan 12, 2010
    I did check for lice. Looked around the vent and under the wings., but didn't see any signs of them.
     
  4. amysflock

    amysflock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2008
    Tenino, WA
    I experienced this with my last flock, and found it endlessly frustrating. Even though I corrected the underlying causes, I didn't see improvement until the flock molted and grew in replacement feathers. That said:

    Do they have adequate space, both indoors and out? (Recommended 4 square feet per bird indoors, 10 square feet per bird outdoors)

    Do they have adequate and always-available food, water, grit and calcium?

    Do they have enough space on the roosts? (Make sure if you have two that there's 18 inches between them...it makes it harder for a bird to reach it's "friend" on another roost and pull feathers out)

    Have you recently introduced new birds? (Adding and removing birds from an established flock can cause picking issues, among other things)

    Are your nest boxes in a location where a hen can't be picked at while she's in the nest?

    Those are thing that come to mind right away. For me, space with my last flock was the biggest issue...and I was only short by a little bit, but it counted! You might also try distracting the birds by hanging a cabbage or something for them to peck at and keep them busy. You might also consider spraying the bare spots with BluKote to camoflage the bright redness of their skin...because red spots incite picking, and I know with my last flock those are spots were bright, glowing red!

    Good luck, and keep us posted!
     
  5. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Have these bird been laying?

    What are you feeding them?

    How many hens are in the coop these birds are in and what is the size of the coop?

    How long is the roost space and how is it laid out?

    Do you light your birds and how strong is that light?

    The first two questions go to possible protein deficiencies there are other problems related to feed as well, but feathers are a source of protein and birds are really good at getting what they need, even if it means eating a flock mate.

    The third and fourth questions deal with space issues.

    The fifth question deals with possibly having so much light in the coop that the blood flow or skin shows up as bright red.
     
  6. felidaet

    felidaet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 10, 2008
    Vancouver, Wa.
    I noticed that one of my Welsummers has a very similar condition as the photo on the original post. I think the feathers disappeared today. All of the other 16 birds look fine. I do know that she layed an egg today because I have two Welsummers and found 2 Welsummer eggs in the nest boxes. My sirds are all about 9 months old. I took a quick look and did not see anything crawling around on her. I will have to look at some other threads to get a better idea of how to look for lice and mites.

    I have lots of extra space and so I am sure this is not the problem. There is more than 20 sq feet of run space for each bird. There is a little more 4 sq of coop space for each bird.
     
  7. felidaet

    felidaet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 10, 2008
    Vancouver, Wa.
    I have been reading through many threads the last couple of hours looking for various ideas of what may be going on. I also went out to the coop and pulled her off the roost to look her over for lice/mites. I did not see anything but the lighting was not the best. I will look tomorrow as soon as I get home from work (I get home before dark). I sprinkled the coop real good with DE while I was out there. I think I will change the straw in the nest boxes tomorrow.

    One thread that I saw suggested that plucked feathers can sometimes occur before a pullet/hen goes broody. I am starting to think this may be what is going on. The last few days I have noticed that there quite a few small soft feathers in one of the nest boxes. I have not determined which bird they are from. Up until tonight I did not see any missing feathers. I am not sure they are the right color though.

    As I mentioned, tomorrow I will look over this bird closely in the daylight. I will also look at the others closely.

    I am making a trip to the feed store on Friday to pick up some feed and order some chicks for the spring [​IMG]. While I am there I will pickup some lice/mite powder. Even if we don't have lice/mites right now it sounds like something I should have on hand.
     
  8. Rohnasmom

    Rohnasmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 4, 2010
    Bradford County .Pa.
    Hi, it was suggested to me to add a litter pan of food grade diatomaceous earth to the coop, during the summer, my girls also had what appeared to be mites or lice. Very red, behinds and lots of feathers out. After sprinkling it in all the clean bedding and providing the box, the condition cleared right up. Feathers grew back fairly fast. They have a box in the coop all the time now for dusting. Just a thought. Good luck!
    I know I spelled it wrong, sorry. Feed store ordered it for me. I can post the brand name if you want it or PM me if you want.
     
  9. JeannieB

    JeannieB New Egg

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    Jan 12, 2010
    Thanks for all this great info! The 4 chickens were all obtained as chicks last May, so they grew up together. All are laying – I get 2-4 eggs/day very consistently. The coop is 16 square feet with 2 perches about 5 feet each. I feed them regular layer pellets and corn scratch along with table scraps and have just started giving them grit. I have just begun giving them suet, as well. Nest boxes (2) are raised about 1-1/2 feet above the ground and are protected. I do light the birds and have just switched to a red light, which supposedly will camouflage the red marks from the pecking.
    I have isolated the culprit bird and am quite sure that the buff orpington is pulling the feathers out of her flockmates’ butts. The most severely damaged is the runt, a barred rock who’s on the small side. The other 2 birds (a rhode island red and an auricana )are only slightly smaller than the buff. But now that the buff has been isolated for a few days, the other birds are healing and growing new quills. Although we have a 16 sq ft coop, the low perch was taking up a good portion of it, so we took it out and left only the high perch, which is the only one they use anyway. The birds were stuck in the coop for about a week due to very cold, snowy weather (we’re in Massachusetts) and that’s when all this started, so it was possibly caused by a combination of crowding and boredom. My next question is this: how have people handled reintroducing an isolated chicken after the injured birds have healed? My vet recommended waiting 2-3 weeks and doing it under supervision.
     
  10. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    The likely source of the problem is diet, the white light (which if used should be over something like the feeder and fairly low in wattage, the smaller the coop the lower the wattage), on the diet side cut out every thing but the layer feed and of course water, if you give them treats they should be no lower in protein content than the layer feed (even some of that is just at the line for protein) otherwise the treats should be very infrequent and in low amounts.

    You put the "trouble maker" back in the coop after the others have gone to roost and the coop is dark. You do need to watch them more than normal for a while, but the peck order has already been sorted out among the 3 that are still together and they will treat the former top bird as an interloper and she'll be the one looking for an out.

    I've already had a hospital bird rejoin the flock, no problems. Just make sure everyone is healed and there is no blood showing.

    I've got two more that will shortly be going back out.
     

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