Feather problems

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by briteday, May 1, 2009.

  1. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    We have 6 RIR pullets that were raised together and have always been in the same coop together. They are just about one year old.

    Recently we noticed that 5 of the 6 hens have broken feathers on their saddles. One is pretty thin-feathered down there, the others have varying degrees of broken feathers. And one hen looks just as pretty as ever. I have checked for parasites and dusted as a precaution. I'm thinking we have a feather picker and it's the one with perfect feathers.

    In all other respects the birds are normal...everyone eating, drinking, normal poop, laying usually 6 eggs per day.

    Any ideas???
    Last edited: May 1, 2009
  2. Mrs.Puff

    Mrs.Puff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2008
    Southern Iowa
    Are you SURE one is not a rooster? Sounds like roo damage. Another thing may be that they are bored if they are not allowed to roam, and if they are getting a lot of energy from their feed. They might be feather-picking out of boredom. They could be molting, but this doesn't affect just the saddle.
  3. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    They are almost a year old and there is no crowing. We did suspect the "perfect" darker feathered bird might be a roo when we got them last year, before they started laying. Not a roo apparently, but definitely the more dominant of the group.

    And the feathers are broken off about 1/3 the distance from the skin.

    Our weather has been ugly off and on for quite a while. They get to free range lately about 4-5 days out of 7. But over the winter their coop was not in the pasture and they were totally confined to the coop and run...and not one feather problem.

    I've been giving them a bit of scratch to play with on the days they can't come out of the run due to weather. And we visit with them several times during the day to talk and handle them, trying to keep boredom to a minimum.
  4. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    Today the weather was nice enough to let the girls out...and we found the feather picker!!! The one with the perfect feathers and also a bit roo-ish (but not since we know they are all laying eggs!) is picking every else's feathers...even while they were out in the pasture with plenty of room for everyone. The picked on girls would just squat and let Foster pick feathers.
  5. cherp68

    cherp68 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 21, 2009
    Fonthill, Ontario
    We have 2 Red Sex-Links who are not quite a year old. We live in southwestern Ontario where we'er have mix of weather this winter. My concern is that our more dominant girl has a patch of feathers on her back that are broken roughly 1/4" from her skin. I don't what the proper name for the area is, back, side close to tail feathers. She does have a bit of mites but not really bad.
    I read the previous posts and am wondering if this too is from boredom. Unless the temperature is around 0 degrees celcius they don't come out of their coop. They have been eating & drinking like crazy and still giving us an egg per day. When they do come out they seem fine & have the normal amount of energy. When they roam around they general stick to the path we clear of snow for us to walk from the house to the garage to their coop which is behind the garage. It also serves and the run for the dog. The chickens don't want to step in the snow (I can't blame for that!).
    We have been on the hunt for a rat that seems to either be under the coop or in the garage - we have a trap but it has eluded us. The darn thing has even chewed the wood plank floor of the coop!
    The chickens skin around the broken feathered area is in tact with no apparent signs of trauma.

    Does this sound also like our other girl is pecking at her or do they do this to themselves? They are very used to roaming the entire yard & eating anything in sight.

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