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?