Does growing "real" feathers itch?


In the Brooder
12 Years
Jun 20, 2007
I have 9 baby chicks (2 & 3 wk old mix). I've been noticing the last couple of days, especially now that "real" feathers are growing in, that they are "itching"/pecking at their wing feathers, underneath the wing feathers, stretching around & trying to get their backs.... Sometimes it looks like they are cleaning themselves, sometimes it looks like they are itchy. Behind their necks I can see some skin when they stretch, but it looks normal when they are standing there.

I don't think they have mites or lice or whatever chicks can get, but maybe I'm wrong? How can I tell?

This past week, I've switched from the super fine bedding to the regular shavings. It seems to be "cleaner" than the fine stuff that their waste would just sit on.

They love to "dust bath" in their bedding (both types) - it flies everywhere.

Any thoughts and/or advice you have would be appreicated.


In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 30, 2008
weatherford, tx.
mine are 2 weeks old today and are doing the same thing. didn't see any mites or anything 'crawling' on them. they are flying a lot more now than before. we'll see, the experienced folks here will know for sure. they are awsome in their wisdom!


12 Years
Oct 5, 2007
they are taking the new feathers out of there casings and also prabably itching the pin feathers that might hurt alittle it is probably not caused by mites unless you see them it is chickens natural grooming behavior. You will also see fully feathered hens doing this they prabably spend about an hour a day taking care of there feathers. Espeacialy when it is wet they will rub waterproofing oil from the oil glands at the base of the tail and will get it all over there other feathers. It can be an entirtaining behavior but it is completly normal.


[email protected]@2four

11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
I agree with Henry(who by the way is a Marylander as well!)
This is totally normal 2 week old chicks preen themselves constantly and are pulling old feathers out, itching themselves, etc. Totally normal behavior...of course if they're just plucking their feathers out, then there could be otehr problems. As far as looking for mites, it's almost 100% unlikely as you don't have them out of the brooder, right? But just in case, fold their feathers up with your hand on their back and near the nape of their necks and look at the base of the feather'll actually see with your naked eye little flat bugs in their quills that resemble a flee, but it's body is more clear looking and they are flat. But trust me, you'll see it! Keep us posted and good luck!
God bless,

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