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HELP! Serious Non Regrowing Hen Feather Loss

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by camelliagirl, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. camelliagirl

    camelliagirl Hatching

    Dec 1, 2010
    I am an urban chicken owner. My 3 hens (the Dixie Chicks) are a 1 year and 5 months old. . They are free range pretty much all day and in their coop at night. They receive fresh water, organic chicken feed, worm treats and treats they find in our yard. About 3 months ago I took my Barred Rock Emily to the vet concerned about her feather loss and behavior. He said molting and gave me Baytril to give her twice a day. She started getting her perkiness back, and there was some feather growth. Also, none of my girls molted at the same time.

    It is November now and she still is losing feathers and has permanent bald spots. It is like her feathers grow at bit and break off and never grow back. Lots of dander as well. She has no tail feathers, no substantial wing feathers and loss of her down feathers. She will not perch with the other 2 hens because she can fly to the perch and sleeps in a in closed area in the coop where they usually lay eggs (which they haven't laid any eggs since Sept.) and now for warmth since we are in the high 30's (central Florida).

    This week I took her to my avian vet again (he did study poultry in vet school) and he immediately was concerned and said he had never seen this feather loss in chickens before. He said he had seen it parrots. It is a virus in which they loose all their feathers and eventually their beak. He was not aware of a cure. He took pictures and sent to a University. We are still waiting for the results.

    I think it has spread to my Buff Orpington Natalie, but not Arcaucana Martie or our rooster who does not live in the coop. We have no idea how she could have gotten this because we have no other farm animals and they stay on our suburban downtown lot.

    We love our girls so much and are very sad. They are so attached to each other as well. If ANYONE has seen or heard of this before and can provide any in sight, we would greatly appreciate it!
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010

  2. Are they picking each others feathers?

    Get some Black Oil Sunflower Seeds. That really helped with the feather loss here in our hen house. My girls don't always molt at the same time. When they are not laying, usually something is going on.

    I think there could be a lot of issues like: type of bedding, what did you construct you hen house from, have you sprayed for mites and checked for lice, how much square footage do you have and probably several other possibilities. Hopefully one of the chicken guru's gets on here and answers you questions.
  3. aliprowl

    aliprowl In the Brooder

    Nov 12, 2008
    Northern Westchester
    I have had horrid feather issues with one girl. She picks at herself; the other hens are not doing it to her. She has had a bald back, bald rear and thin feathers everywhere else. The problems began when a hawk attacked her and scalped her back - did not break the skin even (juvenile) but pulled all her back feathers out and left a big bald patch. After that, she seemed to pick at herself endlessly. I was convinced there were also mites or lice and treated for them repeatedly - still do not know if there were any; never saw them, but that doesn't mean they aren't there. Unfortunately, the best thing to do is to take every single thing out of your coop - strip it, and clean within an inch of your life. Use permetherin spray (not sure I'm spelling it right but look for high % of that ingredient in the spray) on every wood surface after you clean & vacuum. Then dust the floor and each hen with Sevin dust - you have to get under their wings and everywhere. Easiest to use an old knee high stocking. Search this site for more info on mites/lice and how to control them. You can also use Frontline spray on them. Once you've done that, you should look into worming them all (again, tons of info on this site). All the while, feed BOSS and mealworms - tuna, if they will eat it (mine won't). Anything to up the protein intake. I don't know anything about the disease you reference, but if it isn't a disease then look at other causes, which for feathers are generally mites/lice. My hen finally is just finishing a hard molt and has - thankfully! - a ton new feathers coming in. I've read that until they go through a really hard molt, they won't regrow feathers in any quantity. If her back is bare and you think she is cold, I ordered a hen apron that is fleece lined, for warmth, and they do not inhibit feather growth. Got mine from Hen Saver/Crazy K farm, and it is terrific. Very soft, warm fleece, like a winter coat!
  4. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Songster

    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC

    Wow, that is quite unusual! I've never heard of such a thing, but there are literally thousands of folks on here with an enormous combined chicken knowledge, so someone might chime in who has seen something like it.

    It would really help if you could post some pictures of your poor girl, somebody might be able to help.

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