Feather loss... More than just molting... What is a solution?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GOLDENSEABRIGHT, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. GOLDENSEABRIGHT

    GOLDENSEABRIGHT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Greetings fellow chicken lovers,
    I have a total of 5 Easter Eggers, and they are losing feathers and not regenerating them. I talked to most people and they ay it is just part of their molting period, but that only last for months at max time. Their feather loss started exactly one year ago and it has been getting worse by the month. I have treated them for chicken mites and other feather loss causing parasites, but it is still the same thing. I am not sure how I should feed them ratio wise. right now I am doing 50% scratch and 50% laying crumble. I read somewhere that laying crumble is high in protein and should help provoke feather growth. It could have been stress, but I fixed that problem by moving them into a much larger coop yesterday and they are already happier. I really don't know what to do.

    These are the places where the feathers are gone or going:
    1. vent area
    2. back
    3.shoulder of the wings
    4. belly/ neck
    these areas except for the shoulders and neck are red and irritating looking.
    I beg you to help me and my flock.
     
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

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    Do you think it could be feather picking.

    Since you have already excluded ectoparasites, and not seeing pin feathers/molting, then that is the only other cause I can think of. If it is , then you won't see new feathers til next molt.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014
  3. GOLDENSEABRIGHT

    GOLDENSEABRIGHT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok. well I hope you are right, but I really need them to look half-way pretty again so I can sell them.
    Is this breed a breed that is good to cook?
     
  4. GOLDENSEABRIGHT

    GOLDENSEABRIGHT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could anybody tell me the ratio I should feed them.
     
  5. GOLDENSEABRIGHT

    GOLDENSEABRIGHT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have been thinking about this. If I were to feed them twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, would this help. If I were to do this, I would do the laying crumble in the morning and scratch in the evening. Should I try this or something else?
     
  6. GOLDENSEABRIGHT

    GOLDENSEABRIGHT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    or could I just retreat them for parasites or could I do I have any other suggestions.
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Well I believe the feeding is your problem. About 16% protein is sufficient for hens to make eggs and maintain their bodies. Not quite enough to make feathers that are 90+% protein.
    Your layer feed is likely about 16% protein. Scratch grains average about 10% protein. Corn is a little less (8-9%), wheat and oats, a little more(11-14%).
    You are feeding 50:50 scratch and layer feed. So you are giving 13% protein to hens. That's not enough to maintain body, much less grow feathers. At 13% crude protein, they can't grow feathers and are starved for protein so likely they're eating each other's feathers.

    If you read your feed label, it will probably have feeding instructions with a statement to the effect, "this is a complete feed, feed as the sole ration, no other supplements are needed.
    Are any of the birds still laying eggs?

    Your next step. Eliminate the scratch completely.
    Get a higher protein feed. If they're still laying eggs, provide oyster shell in a separate container for those still laying.

    If and when they recover and you offer scratch again, it shouldn't make up more than 5% of the total diet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  8. GOLDENSEABRIGHT

    GOLDENSEABRIGHT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes one is still laying but that's all.
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    A neighbor of mine asked to buy some hens from me. I asked why and he said his quit laying. They were less than a year old. I asked what he was feeding them. He said, 'corn'. I said, "what else?" He said, "Just corn." I said you're starving them. He switched to a complete chicken feed and all was well - after a time.
    Your situation isn't quite as dire but they still need to be on a proper layer diet.
    If they're a couple years old, they likely would have low production right now anyway.
    If I were you, I'd find a starter/grower feed in the neighborhood of 18-20% and feed nothing else. Provide the suggested oyster shell for the one still laying.
    If you were tempted to offer table scraps, meat or fish would be ok for a while till things straighten themselves out. They've been trying to make feathers. They can't do that and make eggs too.
     
  10. GOLDENSEABRIGHT

    GOLDENSEABRIGHT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think I figured have solved my problem. Yesterday I found three big problems. When I was cleaning out my egg boxes, I found some disturbing news. I discovered a huge quantity of worms, but so far I have had no worm symptoms. Then I also found a lot of ants in a section of rotten wood, which is unusual because I just checked all of the wood not 3 months ago. I also discovered chicken feathers in chicken poop. So, yesterday afternoon I went to my local feed store. I not only got worming treatment, but I got a new brand of laying feed that is high in protein and also a new brand of scratch feed with large amounts of protein. I also treated them for extoparasites which I also added something that would help prevent pecking of feathers. I am already seeing results!!!
     

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