Feather loss - not growing back as it gets cooler outside

Ali123123123

Chirping
Mar 24, 2020
68
37
63
Victoria, BC, Canada
My lovely chicken has been steadily losing her feathers all summer. It started on her neck and vent area as it has done in past summers but now she is losing them from all over. She has almost none on her back now and has lost some on her wings.

She doesn’t appear to be growing them back as she does when she molts except on the back of her neck where they are coming in slowly.

She appears healthy otherwise with a red large comb and eating/moving well. There are only 2 chickens left in my flock and the other one has a cross beak so I know that she is not being plucked by others.

I’m worried as the weather gets colder that she will be very cold. I live on the west coast of Canada so our winters rarely go below freezing but it is still cold and windy throughout the winter.

Any suggestions of what I can do to support feather growth or keep her warm?

thanks so much!
 

Ali123123123

Chirping
Mar 24, 2020
68
37
63
Victoria, BC, Canada
They spend half of their day in their run and the other half out in the garden where they eat kale and other garden greens and scratch around. In their coop there is layer pellets. They also have access to oyster shells.
 

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Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
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She doesn’t appear to be growing them back as she does when she molts except on the back of her neck where they are coming in slowly.

There are only 2 chickens left in my flock and the other one has a cross beak so I know that she is not being plucked by others.
You only have 2 left - how long has it been since you had more? Was there a rooster?
What happened to the others?

Most look broken off and/or plucked. I see intact feather follicles in the skin. Those won't be replaced until she actually molts.

The tissue surrounding her face and eyes looks puffy, have you looks for lice/mites or treated for them?
Ivermectin may be a good choice for you when treating lice/mites.

Also, what's on her foot? Is that dirt or? Could be an indication of Scaly Leg Mites.
1631468669363.jpeg
 

Ali123123123

Chirping
Mar 24, 2020
68
37
63
Victoria, BC, Canada
Thank you for your help! I live in the city and we only ever had 3 chickens and 1 died a year ago so it’s been a year with just the 2. There was never a rooster.

We got the ladies from our neighbour whose flock had scaly leg mites. Our girls have had them for years. I have treated them before but it didn’t work and now I just manage them with home remedies.

I don’t see any lice or mites but they have been a problem in the past. Our other girl was sick in the spring and had lice. We treated them for lice/mites then but I don’t remember what the bet have us. Is ivermectin harmful if they don’t need it? May be worth trying?
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
40,652
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1,362
Southern N.C. Mountains
Thank you for your help! I live in the city and we only ever had 3 chickens and 1 died a year ago so it’s been a year with just the 2. There was never a rooster.

We got the ladies from our neighbour whose flock had scaly leg mites. Our girls have had them for years. I have treated them before but it didn’t work and now I just manage them with home remedies.

I don’t see any lice or mites but they have been a problem in the past. Our other girl was sick in the spring and had lice. We treated them for lice/mites then but I don’t remember what the bet have us. Is ivermectin harmful if they don’t need it? May be worth trying?
It shouldn't be harmful to them.

Even if you treat the lice/mites/Scaly Leg Mites with Ivermectin, housing needs to be cleaned out and treated as well. For housing use a Permethrin based poultry spray or dust and treat in 7 day intervals.

I would still rub the legs with Vaseline to help remove all that hardened debris in addition to treating with the Ivermectin.
 

Ali123123123

Chirping
Mar 24, 2020
68
37
63
Victoria, BC, Canada
Hi Again!

Now my lovely chicken is rapidly growing her feathers back but she is very ill looking. She is quiet and has her eyes closed for most of the day. Her face is still swollen. Not mites or lice. She recently started stumbling while she walks, unable to walk in a straight line unless she is running. She is still eating and drinking a bit but less each day.
I just sent a poop sample off to the lab a few days ago and will find out tomorrow if there is anything we can learn from that.

Any suggestions about what she might have? Do you think her symptoms suggest Merek’s disease? If so, I understand that can’t be treated. How long to you wait before putting her down? I don’t want her to suffer.

She has also been doing a gulping type thing for about a year now. I never thought too much of it as she has been healthy. Not sure if that helps.

thanks so much!
 

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Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
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Southern N.C. Mountains
Oh, the poor dear:(

You may be right about Marek's. Really hard to know but molt can bring on an onset of symptoms.
The ends of the feathers are crusty. Does she have any odor at all?

Hopefully you get the test back from the vet quickly just in case worms are part of the problem.
You can try vitamin therapy to see if that makes any difference with the stumbling. I would give her 400IU Vitamin E and 1/4 tablet B-Complex daily.
 

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