Compact mass in feathers on underside

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by 5Leepy!, May 17, 2011.

  1. 5Leepy!

    5Leepy! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there,

    I'm new to chickens and new to the forum. My husband and I got 3 hens about a week ago and they're all approximately 1 year old. The oldest and "leader" is having some issues and has since been demoted and is no longer the lead Hen. She has diarreah and is being bullied. Today I made a dust bath for them with some diatomaceous earth in case it's mites or fleas and I've added some Wazine-17 to their water for worming just in case. (they all have diarreah now but she's got it the worst and was the first) We brought her into the house to clean off her poopy feathers and have discovered a large mass of yuck on her underside. I used my hose sprayer attachment in my sink with mild detergent to try to break it up as best I could but barely made a dent. I did notice that several burrs came out. We don't have burrs in our yard so I'm pretty sure this is an issue that started before they arrived. When I tried to manually break up the mass with my fingers, it looked like it was hurting her as it was pulling on feathers it's attached to. The mass is right up against her body and I can see the skin and feathers pulling so it must be painful. Any suggestions as to how to get this off of her? Would some sort of vegetable oil help? Could this mass be causing her diarreah at all?

    Thanks for any advice you have... She's the tamest and nicest of the bunch and she's clearly not feeling well. I really don't want to lose her. The other birds are ostracising her a bit and last night she slept separate from them.

    Thanks!
    5Leepy!
     
  2. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could carefully snip off all the feathers that the mass is attached to, being very cautious so as you don't accidentally snip some of her skin. Then it might be easier to wash off what's left and inspect the area to see what the problem is. Or you could soak her in a sink of warm soapy water and try to dissolve it or work it loose. That might take a LONG time to work. Or try vegetable oil like you said...

    The diarrhoea isn't necessarily related to this though. It could just be due to the stress of moving house and/or a change in feed AND the wormer that you're giving them. Chickens are birds of routine and all sorts of little changes can throw them off kilter for a few days. I don't mean that giving them the wormer was bad - it's great that you're thinking of how to deal with worms and mites etc - just that it might be contributing to their poopy butt problems.

    If you want to inspect them for mites and lice, wait until they're settled down for the night and you should just be able to calmly lift them off the roost. Much easier than chasing them about the coop in the daytime! Best place to look for mites etc is at the base of the feathers round the vent. Look for small specks or dots down near the skin.

    Hope your new buddies perk up soon! Oh, and a big Welcome to BYC!
     
  3. 5Leepy!

    5Leepy! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Gypsy! I'm actually giving them the wormer today because of the diarrhea. I was thinking that may be the cause of it? Same with the mites/fleas... I know we have fleas in our backyard because I always have to treat our dogs for them so I thought better just go ahead and do that. I've been lurking on these boards for about a month since we started building the coop and trying to learn as much as I can. Their previous owners never wormed them or vaccinated against anything except the standard stuff when they were chicks. They said they were just careful about not letting anyone who had chickens near them so no diseases could transfer.

    About snipping the feathers... do the Hens have any feeling in their feathers at all? I thought I had read a post about clipping wing feathers and not getting too close to something... can't remember what. We don't plan on clipping their wings but I guess that made me think the feathers are like toe nails, that they may have a quick that you don't want to hurt?

    Also, Scrappy (our girl who's in the worst shape) is spending most of her time in the nesting box today. They don't like roosts and sleep in a box at night, the previous owner didn't train them to be on roosts. We haven't had any eggs yet so I'm hoping she's trying to lay but she's been up there a long time... several hours. Is this something to be concerned about? That she's separate from the others for so long? I guess I'm freaking out and worried that she's wandered off to die alone. :-( I feel so bad for her.

    Thanks again,
    5Leepy!

    Oh, we also made sure we got them the same feed as the previous owner so there hasn't been a real change in diet for them except perhaps whatever bugs they might be used to.

    Here's an image of the matted stuff on her. You can see it's black or dark brown close to her body where the matting is. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2011
  4. 5Leepy!

    5Leepy! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, well well... seems my guess about the diarrhea was right. They're pooping out worms. Any idea how to keep them from eating them? I happened to watch and saw a bunch come out and moved them right before she tried to eat them. Yuck.
     
  5. Badbaby05

    Badbaby05 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    5Leepy! :

    Well, well well... seems my guess about the diarrhea was right. They're pooping out worms. Any idea how to keep them from eating them? I happened to watch and saw a bunch come out and moved them right before she tried to eat them. Yuck.

    [​IMG] I think I just gag'd a little! [​IMG]
     
  6. 5Leepy!

    5Leepy! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, this is unexpected... we soaked her and tried to get the mass off of her. I cut some feathers around the mass and some out of the mass it's self. Worked on trying to break it up as well but it's not cooperating and she was getting testy. Here's a picture of the mass after I worked on it a bit...
    [​IMG]
    And here's a picture of her underside so you get a sense of how large it is...
    [​IMG]
    Finally, I took a picture of one of the feathers that I cut out of the mass it's self...
    [​IMG]
    IS THIS A MASSIVE MOUND OF MITE EGGS ON HER??? OMG!!! This poor girl... if it is. Please advise if it looks like that's what this is and how to get this thing off of her... I can treat for mites and lice but how do I get this HUGE MOUND of eggs off? And, do I need to treat my dogs and all of us people in the house for mites as well? Geez... seems someone sold us their problem chickens rather than taking care of them themselves.

    On the bright side, she's feeling better and is much perkier. Even though I'm completely grossed out now.

    Please help me... I've had chickens less than a week and I'm dealing with worms and mites... ugh..... I'm too inexperienced for this.

    5Leepy!
     
  7. ReeseTheChick

    ReeseTheChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    D: owie. Poor chicken! Trust me I am so inexperienced when it comes to chickens too. I don't know what I would have done if it weren't for google and byc. Good luck with your chickens. [​IMG]
     
  8. carolinasculpture

    carolinasculpture Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow! I wish I could say something of use, but I have never seen anything like that before! Good luck and keep us posted!
     
  9. kelar

    kelar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can't tell from the pics whether this is a mass underneathe the skin or something outside the skin itself. The first pic definitely looks like mite eggs - they can get so thick around the vent feathers that it forms a big clump, but the last pic almost looks like a lump or tumor underneathe the skin. If it's external, keep working at it with water and flea shampoo and remove the feathers if necessary - poor thing. You will have to treat all your birds for mites and lice as well as their quarters and keep at it until the hatching eggs are eliminated.
     
  10. 5Leepy!

    5Leepy! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! It's all external so we'll keep working at it. In reading more about mites and worms, am I correct in that using Ivomec Epinex pour on will eliminate both the internal and external parasites? By the way, Scrappy laid her first egg for us today. First egg we've gotten from all three hens we have. [​IMG] She must be feeling much better. lololololol

    When we administer the Epinex, we'll inspect the other hens closely to see if they have the same issues of clumps we need to get off of them. If they have normal small deposits of mite eggs on their feathers rather than a large clump, will those come off on their own after the treatments?

    Thanks for your advice, I'm VERY grateful!
    5Leepy!
     

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