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Feathers falling out on backs of hens....what it it?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by teachumusic, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. teachumusic

    teachumusic Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 14, 2007
    5 of our 11 hens are losing the feathers on their backs just above the tail feathers. Our RIR, Jersey Black Giant, Austra. and a buff. The white leghorns, barred rocks and the delaware are fine. We get 10 -11 eggs a day so it definately isn't a molt.

    We're thinking either mites, or pecking by the "white" chickens or maybe the heat lamp is too close to them. They are all almost a year old in April[​IMG]. Do we need to take one to the vet? Is there something we can do ourselves?

    The coop run has been VERY wet this winter and rarely gets a chance to dry out. Poor gals don't get a chance to give themselves dust baths every day.
     
  2. keeperofthehearth

    keeperofthehearth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi, welcome to the BYC! [​IMG] Do you have a roo? If so, they could be your roo's "favorties" and that over attention by him will rub/break those feathers off. It has happened with a number of my girls. I had to put chicken saddles on three of mine to protect their backs till the new feathers could start back in. Plus it kept them a bit warmer this winter since their little backs were so bare.
    To take care of a possible mite problem, buy some poultry dust or DE and rub them all down with it since if one has it they all will. You will need to dust the coop down also.
     
  3. RubberChickenLubber

    RubberChickenLubber Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Newton, NC
    I'm thinking roo, if you have one in with them. I've been lucky so far, my roo must be a gent, my hens haven't lost a feather.
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Looks like roo damage if you have one.

    Else it could be pecking. They really don't need a heat lamp after about 8 weeks old, unless the coop gets down into the 20's or so.

    If they do have mites or lice, you can check the feathers under the vents, on the necks, and under wings. You can dust them to be sure.

    To promote feather growth. Black oil sunflower seeds and a higher protein layer supplement can help.
     
  5. teachumusic

    teachumusic Out Of The Brooder

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    No roo in the coop. We do have an unwanted wild turkey who is a tom. But he's "chicken" and avoids the girls when they are out and about. He won't go away because of the neighbors feeding him and he thinks the hens are his gals. I don't think he can mate from the outside of the run!

    Thanks for your help. We will get some of the mite dust and look up the DE product. Thanks for the sun oil seed idea too.

    As for he heat lamp at night, we're in NJ and it has been pretty cold here. I think my hubby also has the day heat lamp on till 10 or so to keep them up and laying their eggs. Should we stop using the light? That would save electric!
     
  6. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Re: your light question, I would try to time any light pretty closely to what's happening naturally outside. Their bodies need to rest during the "shorter" days of the year. Laying fewer eggs gives their systems the rest needed so they can be in good shape for the longer days that come with nearly daily laying.

    How close is the heat lamp to your feathered friends? If quite close, is it possible to raise it?

    I'm in NJ too, so I hear you about the wet wet wet outside! Today added insult to injury!
    JJ
     
  7. teachumusic

    teachumusic Out Of The Brooder

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    I think it's time to turn off the light. Thanks for the info.

    Just found some DE online too. Ready for the summer sun!
     
  8. teachumusic

    teachumusic Out Of The Brooder

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    BTW-JJ-

    We're in South Jersey, what part are you in? Any suggestions on where to go to change up our flock now that cowtown (salem county) stoped doing auctions?
     
  9. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm about a half hour north of Trenton....
    I'm not sure of good places for you to acquire some more feathered friends (I've come upon mine through serendipity - they showed up out of thin air, hungry and homeless!) though there's lots of Jersey folks on BYC that would probably have good info if you want to post the question when you have a chance.
    JJ
     
  10. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Wisconsin
    If it's not mites they could be pecking them out of each other. I would add the black oil sunflower seeds. It has 30% protein and methione (required for feather growth). Hopefully it will help solve the problem.
     

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