Dandruff?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by karmical, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. karmical

    karmical Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Honeoye Falls, NY
    Do chickens get dandruff? And if so, is it a problem?

    I've been noticing that when my girls preen (which they often like to do on my lap ...so I get to see things very up close [​IMG] little white flakes fly out. At first I was worried it might be lice or mites, but they're definitely just flakes. One bird even likes to eat them after they float down to my lap!
     
  2. Standard Hen

    Standard Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2007
    Massachusetts
    Good question! I have seen that too and know my birds do not have lice or mites. I just assume it is like dry skin/dandruff. Anybody know?
     
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    When they are preening, what you are seeing is the feather sheaths falling off the new feather emerging. It's flaky and looks like dander.
     
  4. Standard Hen

    Standard Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2007
    Massachusetts
    Thanks, had no idea what that was.
     
  5. karmical

    karmical Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Honeoye Falls, NY
    Ah ha!! That makes sense....they seem to be getting new feathers constantly right now....turning 8 weeks old on Monday...

    thanks!
     
  6. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Ruth loves to sit on my lap and have me preen her. She is getting lots of new feathers now (though she is 12 weeks old) and looks like a little porcupine. The feathers come out looking like quills coated in a sort of wax coating. If you take your nail and gently pinch/flake at the "quill" you'll see all of the white waxy coating fall off and out pops the feather. When I'm done, I look like it's been snowing cause it's all over me. Ruth loves to eat the flakes as they fall.

    Now I know I'm officially "chicken crazy".
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2007
  7. karmical

    karmical Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmmm....I've never really tried to get in there with my fingers and really pick...and I'm an absolute "picker" at heart!! Maybe I'll give it a try tonight and see who'll let me!

    You're not alone...I'm officially chicken-crazy too...along with plenty of others here. SO great to have this forum to talk chicken with !!!!
     
  8. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Hi Karmical - Ruth is the only one of my bakers dozen (13) chickens that is a pet and not only lets me hold her and preen her but kind of demands it. Lots of times I just want to sit there with my coffee but she runs and jumps in my lap and starts preening her feathers and spreading out her wings to expose all of her new "quills" like she's saying "come on - you know what to do". Half of my chickens have never let me even touch them - the other half might let you stroke their back - once - and then run off. But Ruth was a special case and nearly died and I had to had feed her and she has stayed a pet ever since. When I first got chickens it never occurred to me to make them pets - my how things have changed since that first batch in April. Got a second batch in May. Just got my third batch of buff orps last week and I think I'll make them "pets".

    For the preening technique just watch what the chick does. They use their beak and just go up and down the feather shaft to break off the wax coating. I use my thumb and index fingernails. I know I've gotten too close to her skin when she makes a little "Hey!!!" sound.

    Boy, if those who know me knew that I was telling people on a chicken forum how to preen a chicks feathers they would have me committed. [​IMG]
     
  9. karmical

    karmical Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 3, 2007
    Honeoye Falls, NY
    Hi Ruth!

    Thanks for the preening technique advice!! ....I actually did try this morning on one of my girls but couldn't quite figure out how to get in there....I'll give it another go keeping your tips in mind [​IMG] When it's sunny out and they're on my lap, they DO spread all out like you described. Cracks me up when they get all splayed out like that. Of course it's totally overcast and cool today....

    I've made pets of all of mine that will let me! Everybody (see breakdown of breeds after my signature thingy) but the 2 Salmon Faverolles will jump into my lap for petting when I pat my leg for them to jump up...and they'll often just jump up on thieir own. The SFs are standoffish for the most part, but one of them is starting to at least LOOK curious about what the heck everybody is doing up on my lap, so I have hope [​IMG] I predict you'll have a good time of it making pets of your Buff batch...the one I have has turned out to be the sweetest and gentlest of the bunch.

    Be prepared though....once you have a batch that demand "lap time" you can forget about drinking coffee in the morning!!
     
  10. Tuffoldhen

    Tuffoldhen Flock Mistress

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    It's called Poultry dander ....all birds have it...had a gofin cockatoo that made "dust" alot!!....
     

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