Feathers being broken off

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mscallisto, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. mscallisto

    mscallisto Chirping

    Sep 21, 2012
    I posted about a month or so ago about my two girls losing feathers. They are both australops, got them March of last year so they're not even a year old. They aren't losing them at skin level, it's like they are being cut off. I've dusted them 3 times now, although I haven't seen any bugs, but it continues to get worse. It first started off at their tails, but it's moving further up their backs. When I cleaned out the coop yesterday, I noticed mouse droppings. Also, my girls have always laid in their box, but today I found an egg on the ground. It didn't roll there because their box is in the top of the coop and it would have broken if it fell to the ground.

    Could the mice be chewing off their feathers? I haven't noticed a lot of feathers laying around, but on the other hand I know the girls will eat their own feathers. If it is the mice, how can they get so much and so far onto the birds without getting eaten themselves?

    I've checked all over the coop, and there's nothing they could be rubbing against that would be breaking them off. I haven't made any changes inside the coop since I got it last year. Their feathers used to be so shiny and beautiful black, now they are all broken off. I noticed today too that the breakage is moving down to their wings too.

    I don't think there is anything medical wrong. The eggs are still fine and production is still the same. Their skin is still whitish pink and no scabs. I haven't seen any bugs on their skin, just dirt from dirt baths. They're alert, eat and drink fine, and get to run around the yard when I'm out there. I check on them every day.

    Ideas? Help?

  2. Chickenfan4life

    Chickenfan4life Crowing

    Aug 28, 2012
    Planet No
    This is often because of lack of protein in a chicken's diet. To give them protein, generally anything that is high in protein that the girls will eat should be given to them.

    I had the same problem with a sebright, and learned that she would actually eat chicken. [​IMG]But it worked, and she stopped losing feathers. Of course, you can't always give your girls chicken. Find a poultry food that is high in protein.

    Hope that helps!
  3. mscallisto

    mscallisto Chirping

    Sep 21, 2012
    Thanks Hannah! I've thought it might be lack of protein because during the winter there's no bugs for them to eat. I've tried feeding them more leftover meat and beans, but haven't seen a change. But maybe I'm being impatient too. Will I need to pluck the damaged feathers so new ones can grow in? I don't want to pluck any right now as its still cold here for a couple more months. Is there perhaps a supplement I can give them during the winter? Unfortunately, the feed place near me only has one kind of feed, which seems fine during the summer, but obviously isn't enough for the winter.
  4. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Songster

    Apr 22, 2012
    Southwest Virginia
    My Coop
    I am having the same problem with a number of my hens. They just finished their molts and were looking so beautiful, and now this... grrrr. My feed has 20% protein but it doesn't seem to do any good for them.
  5. pixie546

    pixie546 Chirping

    Dec 16, 2010
    Leonardtown, MD
    Greek yogurt is good protein, plus calcium to boot!!! Or scrambled egg, or any meat leftovers from supper. They love hamburger. And I know it's not recommended, but after a bad molt I will give canned dog or cat food one or two time only!

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