Feathers missing on back...best way to treat?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KLCRollins, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. KLCRollins

    KLCRollins In the Brooder

    Jul 9, 2011
    We have 14 hens, 4 are EE's. Two of the EE's had fluffy feathers under their chins (so much so that my kids named one of them "Beard-y"). About a month ago, both of them started losing those feathers. And now they both are missing feathers on their back right before the tail. No rooster. All other hens (including other two EE's) are fine. They are free range most days, although in an 18x30 run in the mornings until we let them out.

    I've watched them and haven't seen any other hens pecking them. I haven't noticed mites or lice, but also didn't fully investigate the coops. I can't imagine it's a protein issue since they get both layer pellets and free range. The EE's are definitely the lowest in rank, but again, in observing them I have not seen any pecking.

    How should I attack this? Get some Blue kote and put on the two EE's? Add protein to their diet? Treat for mites and lice? Do all three?!?

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. Christie Rhae

    Christie Rhae Songster

    Jul 5, 2010
    Big Island, Hawaii
    They will peck at each other when you are not watching. I had a similar problem and swore they were not doing it to each other... but they were. Yes I think they need more protein. I don't feel like layer feed has enough and they might not be finding enough bugs, etc. Open a can of cat food and put it in front of them. Bet they go crazy for it.
    Chickens do not feel pain the exact same way we do and will just lay there sunbathing while another bird plucks the heck out of them. Dorks. lol
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    To check for lice/mites, hold them upside down and look around their vent. If you have lice, you will see little creamy brown bugs crawling around and clumps of eggs attached to the base of the feathers.

    There is any number of reasons for plucking feathers: from bugs, to protein, to boredom, etc. I'd check for bugs first though.

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