Help! My chickens are losing their feathers and I'm losing my mind

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by harwintonCTchicks, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. harwintonCTchicks

    harwintonCTchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2011
    Northville, MI
    I have a group of 10 chickens in Northwest CT that are slowly losing feathers.... please help.

    They are all hens and approx. 9-10 months old and multiple breeds (welsummers, wyandottes, cuckoo maran, buff orphington, buckeye, and 2 easter eggers).

    They have a 6 x 8 x 10 (tall) shed that they live in with 4 nesting boxes, 5 x 8 outdoor recycled dog kennel and free access to a 35 x 35 fenced in garden where they "semi-free" range daily. I have a light on from 5am to 6pm. They get a handful of scratch feed with their Blue Seal layer pellets.

    Over the past 2-3 months I have slowly noticed that approx. 6/10 chickens are losing their feathers. Most of the feather loss is around the preen gland, vent and neck (1 hen) The other 4 appear completely unaffected.
    I have tried everything recommended to me and from past threads:

    1) increased protein with organic yogurt, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds and tuna
    2) Dusted them twice with DE
    3) Added a fresh dust bath with ashes, dirt, and DE (they appear to be loving it)
    4) Increased treats to keep them busy (seed blocks, cabbage piƱata, etc.)
    5) Checked them a million times for lice (I'm a small animal vet so hopefully I would be able to see them)
    6) Added vitamins to their water

    They all appear to be otherwise happy and egg production has not been reduced.

    Any advice would be much appreciated..... Am I at the point where they are all going to need one of the duct tape aprons mentioned in past threads [​IMG]

    Thanks in advance!
  2. MustLoveHens

    MustLoveHens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2010
    Albion, Wisconsin
    First off, Welcome to BYC!
    I'm assuming you don't have a rooster which could account for the bare back areas.....
    Two things come to mind looking at the pictures. The first is that they are picking at each other. My guess would be that it all started when they molted due to the timing and they just keep picking because it's fun and they like the blood spots. They easy thing to do is get a bottle of Blu-Kote (the one with the dauber-not the spray can) and cover the pink skin and sore pin feathers. Once the hens no longer see the pink skin and blood spots on the new feather growth, they will leave each other alone. You will need to reapply the Blu-Kote when it starts to wear off.

    The other thing looking at the neck of the one, I'd guess you might have feather mites. There are products like Poultry Protector that are a miteicide (sp) or you can use good old Garden and Poultry Dust like 5% Sevin Dust. I know you mentioned that you dusted with DE but it just might not be strong enough. I'd recommend that you also dust everything from bathing spots to roosts and next boxes and their coop.

    Another thing to consider is the too much sodium can cause feather loss, but I would imagine that you would see feather lose in all your girls.

  3. Pville Chicks

    Pville Chicks New Egg

    Jun 25, 2013

    I saw your post and the pics of your hens with missing feathers. My hens have the same issue and look exactly like that. Did you find out what the cause of the loss was? What did you do? Any help will be greatly appreciated!!

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