feather loss

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Dialynn, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. Dialynn

    Dialynn Hatching

    Jun 9, 2007
    I have 17 hens,new hatchlings purchased may 2007.When they were about 8 weeks old I noticed feather loss that looked like pecking, although I didn't see any going on. i moved my old hens out of the coop and moved the new ones in to give them more room. The feather loss kept getting worse, and I eventually re-cleaned the coop, and individually dusted each of the hens with a garden and pet dust. I took each one off the roost individually and dusted under the wings and around the vent, then the next day cleaned the coop again, just in case. Now almost all of my hens are naked from mid-body back, and the ones that aren't are sparsly feathered in that area. We have seen no eveidence of pecking, have two roosters to the 17 hens, the oldest of which ( he's about 6 years ) hasn't lost a feather and the younger ( 3 years old)has lost a few. I've read that while they're laying they can't re-grow feathers.
    I'm at a loss myself, here, I can't figure out what's going on. Any sugestions?
  2. LinckHillPoultry

    LinckHillPoultry Songster

    Jan 17, 2008
    Well, with roosters, they will often pick "favorites", meaning they like one more than others and they will mate... and mate... and mate... and mate, which will lead to feather loss on a hens back.

    I am going to quote a section on this topic from Storeys Guide to Raising Chickens:

    A cock may pull out a hens feathers while treading during mating. A hen with missing feathers on her back has little protection from the cocks claws during future matings, and as a result may be seriously wounded. If a hen has her sides sliced up by a roosters toenails, isolate her and treat the wounds until healed.

    As a less extreme measure, dress each hen in an apron or saddle made from two pieces of canvas or cotton denim stitched together and fitted with elastic straps. Apply the saddle when the hens feathers start disappearing, not after she's already wounded.

    Hope this helps!

    Edited to add: [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2008

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