Help Needed - Dry, Flaky,Yellow Crust Comb and Wattle with Head Shaking

Azaia

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2021
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26
Hello Everyone,

I'm a new chicken keeper based in Southern England. I have Burford Browns, Legbars, a Maran and few Orpingtons. My young male Orpington was bought along with his flock from a single and reputable breeder. Though since ive had him he has had terrible sore looking dry flaky skin which is most obvious on his comb and wattles, but as you can see in the images (providing I managed to post them here correctly), his dryness is relentless and appears as "dandruff", (im not sure if there is such thing in chickens), onto his feathers which you can see in the images.

I have been following BYC for a few months - ever since I got chickens - this is my first post. Reading some of the past forums, I tried some of the suggested remedies that ive read have helped others here. Recently this was athletes foot cream (known as Daktarin in the UK). using tis for 5 days made the problem worse and he developed the first signs of blackened extremities to his comb. Poor boy. I'm hoping this this rules out a fungal cause.
Ive also treated him with Ivermectin, just to rule out any mites being the issue.

I have now switched to a mixture of rosehip and prickly pear cold pressed oil - both known for their dermatological properties. This has alleviated his large dry flaky skin and he has stopped scratching at it. But ive now noticed a yellow crust, which he's had for about two weeks. He also throws his head back and gives it a good quick shake and then continues as normal doing this quite often.
Moving his feathers back with my fingers and looking at his skin near his head, I notice it too is dry and flaky.
He is doing well otherwise, eats drinks, crows normally, he's not withdrawn or lethargic either.

None of my other small flock of birds have these issues. They're all on Marriages Farmyard pellets, as well as Royal Variety Mixed Corn from the same brand. I have wormed them all with Flubenvet feed pellets. I supplement their diet with greens and veg, the occasional scrambled eggs, dried poultry mealworms, vitamins supplement sold by Avivit and also their Sundrench. I would really appreciate any advice/guidance.
 

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Eggcessive

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What is his coop like? Does he have over head ventilation but no direct cold drafts on him? The blackened tips of the comb could be mild frostbite. He could have scaly face mites or favus, a fungus. Petroleum jelly to the areas could smother the face mites. Ivermectin at the correct dose can also treat those, given 14 days apart. Favus is treated with antifungal cream. Creams in freezing weather could freeze and add to any frostbite. Watch to see if he is somehow injuring his comb or wattles on wire fencing, since old injuries can look like the tan spot on his comb.
 

Azaia

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2021
15
11
26
Hello Egg
What is his coop like? Does he have over head ventilation but no direct cold drafts on him? The blackened tips of the comb could be mild frostbite. He could have scaly face mites or favus, a fungus. Petroleum jelly to the areas could smother the face mites. Ivermectin at the correct dose can also treat those, given 14 days apart. Favus is treated with antifungal cream. Creams in freezing weather could freeze and add to any frostbite. Watch to see if he is somehow injuring his comb or wattles on wire fencing, since old injuries can look like the tan spot on his comb.
Hello Eggcessive, thanks for your help, I have come across a few of your threads in the last few months.

We have a wooden coop. Built by the builder who built the home. It's alright but not built with 'eggcessive' knowledge on chicken keeping. Its over two levels. Two lower rooms and two upper rooms. We have fitted Omlet feeders and drinkers onto the mesh to restrict food on the ground. The feeder is open top so that he can eat freely without being restricted by his large wattles and comb.

Theu have overhead ventilation which is about 12 inches above their heads. They are free range and have access to farm land. Well... 'had' access to farmland, prior to the current wave of avian flu sweeping the country with restrictions now in place.

I did mention the use of ivermectin and an anti fungal cream in my above post. We hadn't had freezing weather when I used these a few weeks ago.

Could the yellow crustiness be a sign of improvement and healing? Can chickens have severe dry skin/eczema like we do? He was heavily doused in oil when I collected him from the breeder. I assumed it was excess sebum, but now im wondering whether the breeder was treating him for the same condition unbeknownst to me.
Could he have an allergy to my cleaning routine? I use Barrier red mite powder whilst I lay fresh bedding down - it's more of a preventative measure with no permethrin or any other insecticide as I haven't witnessed any signs of mites yet. I was shown by another breeder who visited how to check for this.
 

Eggcessive

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I suppose he could have excess sebum build up if he hasn’t been able to dust bathe in the past, but I have seen injuries to the comb appear first black, then tan, and later white as they heal. I would try the Vaseline petroleum jelly, since it is mild, but can heal a lot of skin conditions and smother face mites. Here are a couple of pictures of scaly face mites:
https://club.omlet.co.uk/forum/topic/68357-scaleycrusty-face/

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url...ved=0CAgQjRxqFwoTCLixh_fDw_QCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAJ
 

Banana01

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Feb 18, 2021
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Try cleaning his face and brushing his head lightly with a toothbrush and water to get the flakes off and see what parts of his skin are smooth, and what parts look like they have something. I 'bathe' a lot of chickens this way and they enjoy it and appreciate being cleaned.

To me it looks fungal, but rose and prickly pearl also dry and leave a residue. Coconut oil is natural and contains antifungal and countless beneficial chemicals. Try coconut oil instead after you clean it.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Recently this was athletes foot cream (known as Daktarin in the UK). using tis for 5 days made the problem worse and he developed the first signs of blackened extremities to his comb. Poor boy. I'm hoping this this rules out a fungal cause.

But ive now noticed a yellow crust, which he's had for about two weeks. He also throws his head back and gives it a good quick shake and then continues as normal doing this quite often.
Moving his feathers back with my fingers and looking at his skin near his head, I notice it too is dry and flaky.
The cream attracted dirt causing the black. Looks like dirt to me.
Clean up the comb, face and wattles as suggested. Brush the dirt and flakes from his face and then apply Vaseline. Plain 'ol vaseline is my preference for putting on dry skin. I put it on rooster's combs, faces, wattles, legs and feet to help with dry skin. I've tried other products and they seemed to make the skin peel. For me, vaseline works.
 

Banana01

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Feb 18, 2021
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San Martin, Peru
The head shake you describe is something i see a lot of with several of my roosters. I havent figured it out yet, but it definitely happens sometimes and has me worried when it is really often. It could be from something in the ears, like mites.
 

Eggcessive

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Many people shy away from Vaseline or petroleum jelly for some reason, but the truth is that it is the base of most skin and eye ointments if you read labels. It has been used on babies for generations. I had not considered that being dirt, but I would agree with Wyorp Rock.
 

Azaia

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2021
15
11
26
Many people shy away from Vaseline or petroleum jelly for some reason, but the truth is that it is the base of most skin and eye ointments if you read labels. It has been used on babies for generations. I had not considered that being dirt, but I would agree with Wyorp Rock.
Try cleaning his face and brushing his head lightly with a toothbrush and water to get the flakes off and see what parts of his skin are smooth, and what parts look like they have something. I 'bathe' a lot of chickens this way and they enjoy it and appreciate being cleaned.

To me it looks fungal, but rose and prickly pearl also dry and leave a residue. Coconut oil is natural and contains antifungal and countless beneficial chemicals. Try coconut oil instead after you clean it.
The cream attracted dirt causing the black. Looks like dirt to me.
Clean up the comb, face and wattles as suggested. Brush the dirt and flakes from his face and then apply Vaseline. Plain 'ol vaseline is my preference for putting on dry skin. I put it on rooster's combs, faces, wattles, legs and feet to help with dry skin. I've tried other products and they seemed to make the skin peel. For me, vaseline works.
Thank you so much for all your help everyone. As a new backyard keeper, I feel privileged that such an invaluable resource is available to help me on my chicken keeping journey.

I gave him one more dose of ivermectin and swapped over to purely Vaseline as suggested by Eggcessive and others. I did plan to wash and brush his comb and wattles over the weekend, but things changed for the better with your support. The crusty yellow bits are all but coming away. His comb and wattles have now taken on their usual deep red hue.

Thanks so much!

...and now for another chicken ailment which I will post separately
 

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