Help! 1 and now 2, 6 month old chickens losing feathers.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nessalee, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. nessalee

    nessalee New Egg

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    Jul 1, 2015
    Salem, OR
    New to raising backyard chickens. We have 4 hens. All was good until about 3 weeks ago when our Rhodie started losing feathers on her lower back. Thought I'd might be establishing pecking order, but not so sure. I think I ruled out mites or lice. Don't noticed anything. I separated her last week but went away for the weekend and put her back in the coop. When I got home she now has a blood spot as if she was pecked. Also, noticed the Ameracana's back feathers are not looking good and a few are missing.

    Coop run is 10' by 5' , I think. Need to check with my husband. Weather is getting cooler. Feed them 16% layer food and just bought 18 % feather fixer. Can't find anything with higher protein. Separated rhodie again, so others don't peck the open wound.

    What is happening?

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    Meanwhile, we lost our polish hen. Between a 12 hour period she died. Found her in a nesting box in the morning. She wasn't laying yet. We don't know what happened.
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    Do you happen to have a rooster? The feather loss pattern looks a lot like what happens with over-mating. Sorry for your loss :hugs
     
  3. nessalee

    nessalee New Egg

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    Jul 1, 2015
    Salem, OR
    Thank you! We're pretty sure we don't have a rooster. We get 4 eggs a day. Could it be anything else?
     
  4. nessalee

    nessalee New Egg

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    Jul 1, 2015
    Salem, OR
    Thank you! I don't think we have a rooster. We get 4 eggs a day. Hens won't lay more than one egg a day right. I would think we'd hear a rooster at 6 months, too.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Could be feather picking by other birds because of low protein......could be depluming mites(impossible to see as they live inside the feather shafts).

    I'd check closer for lice and other mites, part the feathers all the way down to skin around vent, under sings and around head/neck and look for activity and egg clusters on bases of feather shafts.

    If other bird died from illness, they all might be more susceptible to external parasite damage.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    When you have an unexplained death, it really is a good thing to get a necropsy so you know what you're dealing with. You might be able to prevent further deaths if you know what killed her. But you need to have it done very soon after death since decomposition begins quickly. If you haven't disposed of the corpse yet, refrigerate it until you can locate where to send it.

    Another thing you need to do is to observe your flock to see what they're doing to each other. There are many causes of feather loss. Making assumptions doesn't do anything to identify the problem. You need to identify the problem to solve it.

    If feather picking is the cause for the loss of feathers on the backs, you should be able to see who's doing it. A lot of times, it's a bully who is picking on someone lower in the pecking order. Sometimes you can segregate the victim for a while by putting her in an enclosure adjacent to the others, giving her time to heal and regrow her feathers while gaining more self confidence to stand up to the bully.

    But until you observe the flock, you really don't know what's happening, so that's the first thing you need to do.
     

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