Help! Losing Feathers!!! Not a molt!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by themadbackpacker, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. themadbackpacker

    themadbackpacker Out Of The Brooder

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    Help help! I have about 10 chickens (out of 20+) that are about 70% naked due to feather loss. It's not a molt, as these are less than a year old. It's not picking, but I'm not sure what is going on. They're losing feathers on their neck, thighs, chest, and completely around their vent. I've made sure their coop is clean, and even dusted the coop with Seven in case it's mites. I had noticed they had blood in their stool and on their vent, but I regulated their food (scaled down the scratch feed by QUITE a bit) and that seems to have gotten better there. I'm concerned this isn't a molt, and certainly not picking. Something seems wrong. Please guys, do you have any ideas?? They're starting to look like turkens!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Are you certain they're not pulling the feathers to eat them? Common if they feel the need for protein, and you said you cut down the scratch quite a bit. You might check more closely for mites, at night with a helper; some of these bugs only get on the birds at night. If it were me I'd start giving daily snacks of BOSS, and probably some other protein, maybe scrambled eggs or some canned mackerel. Good luck.
     
  3. fancyfeathers38

    fancyfeathers38 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Try putting something like BluKote on the affected birds to stop them pecking (if that's what is is the problem).
    If you can't get the BluKote separate pecked birds.
    Have you checked under their wings for mites?
     
  4. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    Are you absolutely sure the feather loss is not due to molt? Chickens can molt at less than one year of age. Starts at the neck and within two days the bird appears as if the poor thing was stripped.

    This pullet was nine months old and looked like this in December. Her feather loss progressed so rapidly I thought she had a problem, too. Since the entire flock is the same age, I soon had a bunch of naked-neck-wanna-bees stalking my coop. I adjusted their diet to increase their protein content: scrambled eggs, insects, and so forth.

    Several members here, have even more dramatic photos of molting hens who have bald butts, bare chests, and you'd swear they were eaten up with mites.

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  5. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Blood by the vent and in the stools indicates a serious problem. My first guess would be mites. These nasty things come out at night, so check your hens with a flashlight after they've gone to bed. Pick them up. Look carefully. The mites are the size of pinheads. They're blood suckers, and hence the blood near the vent. But, they don't cause blood in the stools. (If the blood is on, but not mixed in with the stools, then that's mites.) You might have other, internal parasites causing that. Coccidia causes blood in stools, but usually only in the very young birds.

    In the meantime, I'd give the coop a thorough cleaning and make sure the girls have a dust bath (half sand, have food-grade DE) in a kitty litter box. Whatever is the issue, that helps them feel better. (You can see my hen's dust bath - it's the purple box seen on my live-streaming cam at www.HenCam.com)
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, there could be a molt going on, definitely. It's not that written in stone when it happens, and it's also not uncommon for a partial molt around 9 months. This does sound to me like something else is going on as well, though, with the blood. A hen in a heavy molt may pull and eat feathers when she otherwise would not, because during molt they use up additional protein to grow feathers. And just dusting the coop with Sevin will not halt a mite / lice infestation -- not will DE. Here is some good reference material:

    http://msucares.com/poultry/management/poultry_feathers.html

    http://ucanr.org/freepubs/docs/8162.pdf
     
  7. livinontop

    livinontop New Egg

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    My chicken girls have been "molting" for nine months now. I don't think thats a "molt"? I've researched EVERYTHING! A friend that knows chickens says it could be rats?? He says they can climb their roost and eat their feathers while they're sleeping?? I do have a rat problem ( live out in the country). So we're working on that. Anyone know anything about this? Their bottoms are totally bare and the skin red and irritated looking, and some girls have neck feathers missing too. This has been going on since last fall!
     
  8. MariahSunset

    MariahSunset New Egg

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    Mar 21, 2013
    Just wondering did you find out what is wrong with your chicken? I have the same problem. My chicken 9 months ago started loosing feathers. Only 3 of my 9 have feather loss. I removed the rooster, thinking it was him. Then I saw a hen pick at the feathers. I removed her. I hope that they would grow feathers before winter....It get cold in central Indiana. Now we are heading into spring, they look worse. What do I do?
     
  9. livinontop

    livinontop New Egg

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    I never did find out what it was! Pretty hard to believe with all the experts around. I even PAID the online "Ask a Vet". That was a joke! Took numerous emails to even get them to "understand" all the facts of my issue. Like I had to tell them several times, this is NOT a molt! Its been going on for 9 mo and is getting worse. I also took one to a vet here locally and he couldn't figure out what it was either. Anyhow, this probably affected 3/4 of my girls. I now have maybe two of 25 that still have raw backsides. Never figured out what it was. Sorry I can't help you. I sure wish I could!!
     
  10. MariahSunset

    MariahSunset New Egg

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    Mar 21, 2013
    Thanks for your reply! When it gets warmer I'm going to seperate them and see if that helps.
     

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