Fully Quilled Grown Out Feathers "Porcupine Chicken" Sheath Still On

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ParadiseFoundFarm, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. ParadiseFoundFarm

    ParadiseFoundFarm Goddess of Good Things

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    I looked through 8 pages in the Emergency section and could not find this. I had read somewhere of a Peacock whose tail did this but cannot find the article.
    I have many chickens and they are all together. I handle most of them daily. They are inspected for, and have been found free of mites and disease.
    I have a hen with strange feather issues.
    She is the smallest of all our Ameraucana Wheaten hens at just over 4 lbs. Her name is Bitsy.
    As with all the birds, each will have time indoors with us every occasionally for beak & nail trimming, a bath, and taming and lap sitting with treats. The last time this bird was inside and fully inspected was about 2 months ago. She wears, like they all do, an apron with wing protector custom made for her size and shape by me. They are simple, breathable lightweight cotton material, washed before sewing.

    Here is what I see, I will get pictures tomorrow.
    The feathers, EVERYWHERE, are coming in and not being preened of their protective sheath. Not just under where the apron was but any new feathers. This is long feathers and down feathers. It is uncomfortable for her to be petted execpt with the lightest of touches.

    I had her on my lap and was attempting to preen her myself. The sheaths are hard end to end but will easily bend in the middle. I tried getting them to crack lengthwise and they are too flexible.
    I tried to break them and pull off the tips. Mostly I pulled out the feather with it. The feather broke where the sheath broke and I could not pull just the sheath.

    I gave her a second rinse before I went to bed and left her on the couch. In the morning, there was an extrodinary amount of dander around her. Her feathering did not look any better. I gave her another rinse and sent her out into the yard, without her apron, for a day in full sunshine.


    Some of the sheaths have blood in them. The longest are 2 inches. Some are very wide diameter and some are very small diameter for the downy feathers. Her pores, for the most part look OK, but some look big.

    What have I got going on here?

    Denise – concerned mother
    Paradise Found
     
  2. tammye

    tammye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sounds like she is getting new feathers. The blood may be from someone else pecking at them, I have seen mine hens do this, they are attracted to the new feathers coming in. She may be in her first molt, they can look pretty bad at this time and be a little less social while molting
     
  3. ParadiseFoundFarm

    ParadiseFoundFarm Goddess of Good Things

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    New feathers yes, but they are not losing their sheaths. They are very long. She is unlike the others.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  4. mshuey1

    mshuey1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    hi I would like to see pictures of her if u have any. I would like to help u. Maybe some day if it happens to me then I will have the answer. Hve u tried useing Neem oil for her skin, u have to mix it w water it's a strong oil.
     
  5. Goose and Fig

    Goose and Fig Grateful Geese

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    This happened to one of my bantam cochin hens. Her entire back was covered with new feathers that stuck straight up for a couple weeks. I almost wondered if she had some crazy frizzle gene that was just showing itself. It went away on its own and she was back to her old self within a the month. I don't know why it happened that time because she'd had normal molts the 3 seasons before that. Maybe because it was a major molt instead of a gradual one. ( ?)

    If the other birds are picking on her feathers you should isolate her, but where the other birds can still see and talk to her- that way re-introduction to the flock won't be so traumatic.
     
  6. Goose and Fig

    Goose and Fig Grateful Geese

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    Also- make sure she has access to plenty of black oil sunflower. It might help speed things along, might not, but it certainly won't hurt [​IMG]
     
  7. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

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    I think she is going through a very fast overall moult. The feathers can get quite long before they dry out and will be "preenable".

    I had a leghorn do this a few years back, she looked ridiculous for the longest time. I would say her feathers got in upwards around the 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inch mark.

    Just make sure she doesn't break a bunch of the blood feathers. I wouldn't give her any more baths so she will dry out faster.
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    At least seeing a lot of dander is good, right??? Doesn't that mean that some of the sheathing IS coming off??? I would just watch her closely so that others are picking at the "quills." It does make you wonder if there's a nutritional balance issue...the neck and butt are the only areas I've (well...not me personally - my birds) had issues kind of like what you're describing.
     
  9. ParadiseFoundFarm

    ParadiseFoundFarm Goddess of Good Things

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    The girls are on 2 parts Purina Layena , 1 part Purina Grower, 1/2 part BOSS, 1/2 part Oyster Shell with access to dusting, crop gravel, shade, grass and of course plenty of water. They get kitchen scraps occasionally. Treats are raisins, grape pieces and doggy liver traing small bite treats and leftover lunch meat.

    Bitsy is quicker than the rest because she's smaller and light of foot. No One really bothers her. She's well up in the pecking order. I've seen no agression towards her.

    I will increase the BOSS as suggested. I will put her apron back on to protect most everything. I did not bath her with soap because of her condition but was rinsing her. I will stop that for the time being.

    I will post picture tomorrow so the diagnosis can be confirmed.
    Thank you tammye, mshuey1, HappyMtn, pips&peeps and teach1rusl.
    I very much appreciate your help and advice.
    Denise
    Paradise Found
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011

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