Frayed feathers... pests??

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by OuttaKaliAcres, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. OuttaKaliAcres

    OuttaKaliAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 10, 2016
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    Do these frayed back feathers look normal? Is it a molt thing, social feather pecking, or possibly mites? I've spent hours trying to figure it out on the internet. I've searched for bugs on her. No bugs or signs of either. Completely clean under her feathers. Thanks in advance![​IMG]
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    How old is she?
    Do you have cock/erels?

    Did you search for bugs at night, well after dark, for the mites that only feed at night and don't live on the bird but in the coop?

    Best done well after dark with a strong flashlight/headlight, easier to 'catch' bird and also to check for the mites that live in structure and only come out at night to feed off roosting birds.
    Wipe a white paper towel along the underside of roost to look for red smears(smashed well fed mites).
    Part the feathers right down to the skin around vent, head/neck and under wings.
     
  3. OuttaKaliAcres

    OuttaKaliAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you. Good questions. She is under a year old and no rooster in my flock. I havent checked for mites at night. I will do that tonight.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Is she the only one like that?
    How many birds in how big a coop?
     
  5. OuttaKaliAcres

    OuttaKaliAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    I just got done checking the whole flock (10 of them) with a flash light. I also ran paper towel under their roost. Absolutely no signs of bugs. They have a 12x8 indoor coop attached to a 12x12 outdoor run. I'm going to start giving them meal worms (they were getting strictly organic crumble and organic scratch but I started giving them feather fixer because no, she isnt the only one with crappy looking feathers. Only 2 look just fine). I might start free ranging next but I'm concerned about hawks (lots of them here in Nevada) as well as a young cat that has "adopted" us. A little more back info, I just got rid of one chicken because she was pecking on 4 of the birds to the point of lost feathers and blood. Those birds are healing up nicely but the bird in the picture above now has a patch of missing feathers by the base of her tail. I'm really at a loss of what I'm doing wrong! I keep their coop very clean and take good care of them. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Well, so you know you had a feather picker, so this damage could definitely be from that.

    Were these funky feathers always like that since they first grew in probably at about 4-6 months?....
    .......or did the damage start to appear later, like maybe from the 'mean girl'?

    The damaged feathers are not going to look better no matter what you do (and I don't think you did anything 'wrong'),
    until after they molt and grow new feathers at around 18 months.
    They'll be fine.....just not as pretty as we'd like.
     
  7. Kate K

    Kate K Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 5, 2015
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    She looks like most of mine did in the spring. We switched from layer crumbles to all-flock (22% protein) and now that they molted last month they all look great again accept for a couple that are still in molt.
    Time will tell as I think I do have a feather picker an EE...she's very sneaky about it and I see her pick, but never to the point of seeing her pull a feather out, so not sure how this will go. I hate to get rid of her if she's not the culprit. Hopefully the layer food was the problem...
     
  8. OuttaKaliAcres

    OuttaKaliAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    It definitely started over time. Once I figured out I had a feather picker I tried multiple things to make it stop (removing her and putting her back after time, no peck solution, even pinless peepers). She still pecked. I got rid of her last week, but it appears she taught her tricks to at least one other chicken, though I don't know which chicken at this point. Thank you so much for your time and I will patiently wait for next molt! (And try and figure out which chicken is at it now!)
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    With pecking problems you need to look at space/crowding and protein levels of feed.
     
  10. OuttaKaliAcres

    OuttaKaliAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    I really appreciate all your help! I am going to start meal worms for some extra protein. I was also thinking about free ranging them. I have 2 acres. My concerns are the many prey birds and the young cat on my property. But probably worth the risk, since the feather pecking still seems to be an issue after I got rid of my main feather pecking culprit!
     

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