Feather plucking, please help Ginger!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SusanMarie, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. SusanMarie

    SusanMarie Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 17, 2009
    I have a 2 1/2 year old Rhode Island Red (Ginger) who as of a week ago was a happy laying hen. I live in Oklahoma where it has been HOT, HOT, HOT! The chicken usually free range for several hours a day, but have been in their yard for three days due to them scratching up the almost dormant grass. I can not tell if she is plucking herself or the rest are plucking her. My guess is they are plucking her since it is down the back of her neck. She is also turning white, which I think is the down under the coat of feathers? Anyway, she is walking sidewise and her personality is milder. They have a layer pellets, oyster shells, grit available to them all the time. I throw them white millet seed daily for a treat. They also get table scraps of vegetables. Their yard is big, although not to green. I have had feather pecking in the Guinea flock, but never with these chickens. I plan to separate her and clean the coop, and possible put duct tape on her (which sounds very strange), but the walking sidewise throws me for a loop and the amount of feathers she is loosing. The feather plucking did start before the 24/7 lock down in the chicken yard. They sleep in a coop at night. Thank you for any and all help!
     
  2. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Can you post a picture?

    Have you checked for lice and/or mites (yes I know it isn't the normal place for it to show this way)?

    I also take it you haven't seen any plucking actually take place.

    Is it possible that she has started her second major moult? Prolonged stress (heat for example) can cause a moult to occur.

    In the meantime you could up her protein level to assist in re-feathering.
     
  3. SusanMarie

    SusanMarie Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 17, 2009
    I have not checked for lice or mites. I will read through the forum to see how to look for them. I can post a picture later today, but will increase her protein levels in the meantime. I have not seen anyone (chicken) pecking on her and there is no blood. That is why I thought it might be her plucking herself, but the back of the neck would be hard to reach, however, I have been working extra long hours and have not spent a lot of time with them! Basically when I look at her, the bald spot was on the upper back and then grew up the back of her head and then down her back a ways. The feathers are all in the coop and not the yard, which says she is self plucking or they are plucking her early in the morning before I let them out. It could be a molt, but it has never been this drastic before. She will love the extra protein. I call her my "food whore", will follow me anywhere if she thinks she will get a millet seed!
     

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