Feather loss, shaking head in multiple chickens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ChirpyChicks1, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A few weeks ago I saw that 2 of my hens had feathers missing on their bellies. I brought one in the house because it was cold enough that she was shaking (whole body), she got a "warm bath" and went back out a day later when it was warmer. I checked all chickens vent areas for signs for parasites and found nothing. I spread DE powder on roosting bars anyways. I figured they got poo on their feathers and in trying to get it off they pulled some feathers [​IMG]

    Now, seriously like overnight, I have 1 chicken (the same from above) that has a bald spot on her neck. There is a second chicken whos neck feathers have been clearly messed with and I've ran my fingers through them and can't get them to lay down correctly, they kind of feel weird, like hard almost. Also, those two chickens and a third one are shaking their heads a lot.

    [​IMG]

    There is no blood , there is no sign (again) of parasites although I am going to check their vents again tonight. We've had a bit of snow/ice lately and they refuse to come out of the coop when there is snow. I keep them in the coop during rain/ice because it comes in the door and gets the bedding wet. The coop is in big need of cleaning but I am moving the bedding around and adding straw. I do have one chicken who appears to have begun molting already. She's the lowest of the pecking order and the others are b-heads to her.

    1) ALL chickens are eating and drinking normally
    2) ALL chickens have began laying again

    Please help, I've searched this site, I've search Google, I've searched popular chicken bloggers and nothing seems to be the info I'm needing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
  2. ChandlerDoe

    ChandlerDoe Out Of The Brooder

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    This is probably a silly question, but are you sure they aren't just molting?
     
  3. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Trust me, that is ALWAYS on my mind lol but they are all laying eggs. Everything I've read says that they will not lay if they are molting [​IMG] Both chickens are losing feathers on the back of their necks. And I checked them again last night for parasites and their vent areas all look just lovely. While I was in the coop late last night I didn't see anymore head shaking.

    Skin is white not red and inflamed, there is no blood.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  4. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have a rooster?
     
  5. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No
     
  6. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    I don't know how your birds are, how you keep them, but I know for mine this is the time of year they start to get very, very bored. They are coming back into lay and are cranky and bored because the snow has them in the coop very often. I notice a few will intentionally pull feathers off of the others, sometimes an entire section in a 24 hour period. I don't overcrowd them, but they just get bored. I now grow wheatgrass and offer it to them daily to give them something to do. I also hang whole cabbages and offer different foraging opportunities in the coop to keep them busy and it has lessened the picking to almost zero.
    Is this a possibility?
     
  7. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the advice :) even though it's cold and snow covering everything they actually came out of the coop today! I was very surprised because if there is snow on the ground they will not willingly come out. I going to make them a flock block today and I gave them some fresh straw to play in as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  8. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since you know your chickens feather pick I think you're a good person to ask :) What happens to your chickens skin since they pick? Does it stay white or does it turn red?
     
  9. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    Mine haven't ever gotten so bad to where they get a bald spot, however the first year I had chickens I had a rooster that wore the hens backs bald (I rehomed him, he was too much for my flock of 8), and the skin did flush red where this happened. The amount of flushing depended on the chicken's mood; a lot of people think that the redness is irritation of the skin or sunburning, but in reality chickens have the ability to 'flush' exposed skin with their emotions. Of course, skin WILL turn red if it is irritated, but it is also a normal 'blushing' response that chickens have.
     

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