Down falling out?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ChrystalGail, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. ChrystalGail

    ChrystalGail Songster

    Jun 13, 2007
    Casa Grande, AZ
    Hi, I have a question about balding chicks...

    Background: I bought 15 chicks from a lady who raises chickens for the local people to buy and butcher. The place she keeps her animals isn't the greatest and definatly not the cleanest. She had ordered a lot of 100 large breed chicks for a great deal and was selling the ones she didn't want to keep. Although some of them looked sickly in the bunch I had to buy them, just to get them out of that place. I've also talked a few more people into going back with me and get some for themselves. When I went back the second time there was a dead chick that looked like it had been there for a while and the rest were using it as a rug! So I took 2 more home with me. I wish I could have taken more, but we just don't have the room or means to care for them.

    Now for my question: I live in Arizona where our temps have been in the 110s the past week or so. I've been giving the chicks (who are now about 3 weeks old) frozen 2 liter bottles during the day to keep them cool. I've noticed that their down is falling out and what is left is matted and crispy. I assume that it is from them getting wet from the condensation on the bottles. Is this okay? Am I harming the chicks? Some of them have pretty big bald patches where the down has fallen out and the feather are slowly coming in, especially around their necks and wings. I've been treating them for the past 4 days with Sulmet for Cocci that they had when I got them. I also need to treat them for an eye problem that a few of them have which seems to be linked to a cold they are passing around, but I am waiting until they are done with the Sulmet. Any input? They just look so terrible compared to the other pictures that I see here. Will they outgrow it when their feathers come in?

    I know this is really long winded and I apologize, but I am concerned for these poor little guys that have had such a rough start in life. I just want to make sure I am doing every thing properly. I never realized that I would be so worried about the welfare of a bunch of little chickens!


    Chrystal in AZ
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Well, keep them isolated if you have other birds. Are you sure the down is falling out per se or is it the pin feathers you are seeing? Are you sure that they don't have mites or lice? Sometimes lice eggs look like bunches of feathers stuck together in white masses. Can you post a pic?
  3. MTchick

    MTchick Songster

    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    They might just be going through the natural feather growth stages for chicks. Their down falls out and is replaced with pin feathers, which are firm and sort of "straw-like" at first. They even get bald areas for short periods due to this process- mine were nearly bald under the wings, and they get weird looking necks for a while. Some photos of your chicks and the parts of their feathers that look funny to you would be really helpful- it might be a mite or lice, or it could be natural feather maturation.


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