Feather breakage and no rooster!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Iowagirl1, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. Iowagirl1

    Iowagirl1 Just Hatched

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    Dec 9, 2016
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    I have 6 RIR and three of them have feather breakage on their backs by their tail... I don't have a rooster so I'm wondering if anyone knows what it could be and what I can do to help them?
     
  2. MasterOfClucker

    MasterOfClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2016
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    Hello,Fellow Iowan!

    Do you see any mites/lice on them?They are usually under the wings and vent.They are pretty hard to see.Is there any fighting between them?
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  3. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey, can you post a picture? Thanks
     
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Mites or lice would be a good question as well as possible picking. I agree they are hard to see. And are easier to see at night after they have gone to roost. Take the bird down and put on their back and bend legs towards chest, using a flashlight, spread the feathers a bit and look for bugs running. The flashlight really is better than looking during the daytime. Reason is... mites live on the wood, sometimes under the roost, and ONLY come to feed on the chickens. One way you can check for those is waiting until several hours after the birds have gone to roost and then use a white paper towel wipe underneath. If you have red smears on your towel, you have mites.

    There are several types of lice for chickens... shaft, body, head. They don't travel to the other locations. So you could have head lice on a chicken and not see it when you inspect the vent area. [​IMG] But you might see one hanging out by the eye during the day. Also note that you cannot catch chicken lice, they are species host specific. A great link to see lice and mites...

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1155789/lice-and-mites-pictures#post_18145140


    Another factor is age though. How old are your girls? There will be some feather breakage from standard scuffles among flocks. And the feathers don't repair themselves until they just molt and grow new ones in. All my girls in their second season have some chunks missing out of their feathers.
     
  5. Iowagirl1

    Iowagirl1 Just Hatched

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    Dec 9, 2016
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    Here are some pictures.
     
  6. Iowagirl1

    Iowagirl1 Just Hatched

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    They are all 8 mo. old
     
  7. Iowagirl1

    Iowagirl1 Just Hatched

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    Dec 9, 2016
    Iowa
    It is hard to get good pictures of how it really looks especially when it's pretty cold out!
     
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    One more thing to mention...

    Feathers are made of 90% protein. When the girls molt, some people switch to flock raiser type feed with 20% protein and only 1% calcium with oyster shell on the side. Since layer is 16% and 4%... when in molt they don't need the extra calcium but they do need the extra protein. It helps to grow the feathers back in and recover from molt faster.

    I use flock raiser always because I do have chicks, rooster, layers, and molting ladies all the time. And a lot of mine are also heavy breed hens that do better with more protein. RIR are light bodied, so they are probably fine on layer for the most part. Everybody has different ways... but I do suggest switching during molt, though many don't and never have a problem.
     
  9. Iowagirl1

    Iowagirl1 Just Hatched

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    Dec 9, 2016
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    I've read different things about molting, but when should they start?
     
  10. Iowagirl1

    Iowagirl1 Just Hatched

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    Dec 9, 2016
    Iowa
    I feed them the Nutrena Naturwise laying feed if that helps.
     

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