Frizzy Feathers! No one seems to know what's going on with my flock!


In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 6, 2011
I had 8 chickens about 8 months old in a coop that I converted from a horse stall of a mare motel. They were happy beautiful and thriving until about 2 months ago their feathers started getting frizzy. They have lost their tails and a couple of them have chunks of feathers missing. It is my understanding that it is too early to molt. I have switched them to "Feather Fixer" food. I have used diatomaceous earth. (and then heard a lot of people don't like that treatment). I then added 2 of my "teens" into the mix and sure enough their feathers are getting bad. I don't see anything but their feathers are now so mottled that it's hard to get to the skin.
I have posted on other boards and asked at local feed store and I feel hopeless. I'm hoping someone has some ideas.
Here is a picture of my easter egger, all her feathers are shaggy now.

Thanks in advance,


5 Years
May 4, 2014
Washington State
My first thought is they're getting picked on by other chickens causing mechanical damage of the feathers. Do you have a rooster or 2 in the mix? If no roosters is it possible they're bullying each other?

Do they have outdoor space off the stall? If they're in the stall 24/7 they might be overcrowded causing picking and fighting. You could hang a trail camera or something similar in the stall for a few days.

If none of the above sound possible then I'd check for mites even though you're using DE.

Hope you find some answers! Sorry you're dealing with this! I can't imagine how frustrating it must be! :)


Mar 18, 2015
Hi. First time to post here but I have watched this forum for almost a year now. I am having the same problems as described above (chickens with the frizzy feathers on their hind quarters) and I can't seem to figure out what is going on. Did anyone give advice on this or does anyone have advice for this?


7 Years
Mar 18, 2012
Southern New Hampshire
The 1st thing I would do is to go out at night when it is dark and they are on the roost. I use a headlamp so I can use both my hands. Check around their vents looking for smal black or red bugs the size of a pin head. These are mites northern fowl is black and the red ones are red mites). Also check for rice grain size moving bugs moving around these are lice. You can also check under the wings and under the feathers on the back of the neck. Also check the shaft of the feathers that look bad and see if there are any egg clusters from the mites or lice. If you find any of these present forget the DE and go straight to poultry dust. Dust under the wings, back of neck and vent area. Save the DE for the roost bars and mixing in with the floor bedding. Make sure you treat the nest boxes too. Read up on lice and mites in the disease part of the forum. Be sure to completely clean the coop, new bedding, then you can use the DE in all the crevices. I use poop trays with PDZ beneath the roosts. I also mix the DE in with the PDZ in the poop trays. Happy chickening. :cd.
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