Clumped & Missing Feathers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by greensandjeans, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. greensandjeans

    greensandjeans Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 4, 2011
    I noticed earlier this week that a few of my hens are missing the downy under feathers on their breasts and the feathers that remained are clumped together brown. I'm not sure if it's dirt or something else. The skin where the feathers are missing doesn't look irritated.

    It's mud season here in New England and my chickens are hard pressed to find a good place to dust bath. I'm hoping it's just that they've been trying to take a bath in the damp soil. I put out a tray of dry sand, and shoveled the hardened top layer of soil off in the chicken run so that they can find better places to bathe, but I'm still a bit worried it might be mites or something.

    Has anyone else noticed clumping feathers when the soil is wet? Or should I be sprinkling some DE in with the sand and looking into mite treatments?

    Any advice or reassurance for this first-year chicken keeper?
     
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Apr 15, 2009
    I'd be doing a very thorough bug check on those birds. I am smack in the middle of mud season, too, and have no clumpy feathers.
     
  3. greensandjeans

    greensandjeans Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 4, 2011
    Thanks CMV.

    I went out and checked 3 of my 4 birds. No bugs to be seen on the breast or around the vent. Skin looks fine. It seems like it is dirt that was too wet when they took a dust bath, because it does just crumble out under my fingers where it is clumped in the inner down feathers where they would press into the dirt.

    I added some DE to the sand and hope that the warm dry weather will give them some better dust bathing conditions.
     

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