Frayed Feathers??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sdchickgirl, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. sdchickgirl

    sdchickgirl Chirping

    Oct 28, 2014

    Okay so this is a picture of the feathers on my four month old chicken's back. It almost looks like the ends are frayed or being eaten off or something? I'm not really sure. She has no injuries and it isn't happening to our other two girls but I just think it's strange because it started with just a few and it's gotten worse over time. What could have caused this and how do I fix it?
  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Enabler

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    I have found a few things can cause this kind of damage.
    #1 mice. Yes mice. I have seen them in my coop chewing on sleeping hens feathers.
    Solution: Eliminate mice. Put food away at night. Close the pop door. Look for other access points and eliminate them. Set traps where you see mouse droppings and make sure you block the area off from chicken access. DO NOT POISON, chickens will sometimes eat mice and a poisoned mouse can poison your hens.

    #2 other chickens. Bored chickens will pick at each other. I would not suggest giving them a bunch of treats to get rid of the boredom though. I would suggest putting hay in the run so any scratch you are putting down is harder to find. To many treats will throw the balanced diet out of whack. It can also lead to health issues and death from liver problems.

    #3 protein is missing in the diet. Change to a higher protein layer feed or add protein by giving them a small amount of canned mackerel mixed with some cooked oatmeal. NOT A BUNCH since this defeats the balanced diet plan.

    #4 some hens will pick at others trying to roost next to them. It is the ole I don't like you go away thing. Make sure there is enough roost space that they do not have to sit next to the meanie.

    Watch the flock during the day for behavior issues and feather eating. If the run is small and the coop is small it also makes any issues that come up worse to deal with.

    I have had all these issues with my flock and found that correcting mistakes I made has made a huge difference.
    I saw a mouse in my coop tonight as I closed the gals in. I am setting traps tomorrow. I suspected they were back since I noticed my bantam cochin is looking a bit tattered again.

    Hoping for the best and an easy solution for you all.
  3. sdchickgirl

    sdchickgirl Chirping

    Oct 28, 2014
    Hi! Thank you for your response. It turns out she was actually a he. We're still not sure what was wrong with his feathers but apparently his father was the same way when he went through chicken puberty!

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