1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Feathers missing. Are mites to blame?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by froghollowfarm, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. froghollowfarm

    froghollowfarm In the Brooder

    Jul 18, 2008
    I have a Deleware who is missinng feathers in a couple of patches on the side of her neck, as though they were worn away. I also have a black austrolorpe who is missing a patch feathers all around her rear end. Any idea what could cause that/ Could it be mites? I have five other chickens who are unaffected.

  2. oceanwidedesigns

    oceanwidedesigns In the Brooder

    Aug 31, 2010
    Fresno County
    It could be molting -- even though chickens normally molt in the fall/early winter, they really do molt whenever their body tells them to. My BA that was hatched in early May started molting about three weeks ago. She first lost everything on her bum, then in patches on her head and neck. After lots of googling - since we never saw any sign of mites and have DE in the run and coop - I learned that hens that mature late summer/early fall typically molt in late winter/early spring.
  3. kudzu vine

    kudzu vine Songster

    Oct 4, 2008
    Olive Branch MS
    do you have a rooster? If so, that is probably the problem. If there are mites, look at the base of the feathers and should see them crawling on the skin.
  4. froghollowfarm

    froghollowfarm In the Brooder

    Jul 18, 2008
    No, I don't have a rooster, but I'll check the skin
  5. terryg

    terryg Songster

    Jun 5, 2007
    New England
    My best layers - two Golden Comets - always lost the feathers along their neck. Once they lost them, they didn't regrow until after the next molt. They looked scrawny but were perfectly healthy. Feather loss due to mites and lice will usually occur in the vent area first. (for lice pictures and advice go here: http://www.hencam.com/henblog/2010/05/of-lice-and-hens/) Feather pecking will usually be seen first at the base of the tail. Pecking due to bullying will usually be seen on the head. Broody hens will pull out feathers along their breast. Many reasons for feather loss!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by