Feather loss - hoping it's not something serious?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by glloyd203, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. glloyd203

    glloyd203 In the Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2017
    I want to first say that I'm so sorry if this is a dumb question! I am new to chicken keeping, my babies are less than a year old, so I'm seeing everything for the first time! When I first started noticing that my girls' feathers were getting thin in places, I assumed they were molting. Some of them have regrown feathers in the places that were looking thin, but just now I noticed that one of them has a fairly large, completely bald spot on her back! I was shocked and I would love any feedback I can get. Thanks! IMG_5490.jpg
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    It looks like the usual feather loss seen when there is a young rooster with too few hens. If there is no rooster, the pullets are picking feathers. How much room do they have, do they get outside daily, and what type of feed are they getting?
     
    glloyd203 and Hen Pen Jem like this.
  3. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    Yes, that looks like feather picking to me. Three main causes for picking are:
    1. Too little space
    2. Too little protein
    3. Boredom

    Feather picking can become obsesssive or lead to cannibalism if you don’t get it under control.

    What do you feed them?

    Until you figure this out, you can protect her with a saddle/apron. You can buy one or make one. I would provide a protein treat, like tuna or scrambled egg, right away, until you can switch them to a higher protein feed.

    You can also provide some boredom busters like hanging ahead of cabbage in the run. You’d be surprised how much entertainment just a couple shovels full of soil can bring, especially if there are wormsin it!

    Finally, I would observe the flock and determine who is doing tbe picking in case you have to intervene diwn the road.

    Good luck!
     
    glloyd203 likes this.
  4. glloyd203

    glloyd203 In the Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2017
    Thank you so much! We do have a rooster, and 5 hens, and two of the hens have this bare spot on their backs. I just found some great aprons on Etsy that I will definitely order! I feed them a non-GMO layer that I believe is 16% protein - I was instructed to use a low-ish protein feed since the ducks live in the same run. They get a good deal of space, they are always out in the run and almost never even use the coop - they don't even sleep in it anymore! But they definitely could be bored since it was really rainy here all last week. Just bought some more cabbage for them! :)
     
    micstrachan likes this.
  5. glloyd203

    glloyd203 In the Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2017
    What protein level would y'all recommend for their food? Or is there a way to offer free-choice supplemental protein on a daily basis just so that the ducks aren't getting too much protein from the feed?
     

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