Hen’s feathers thin and falling out, not resolving

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Rachel Roni, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. chickenmeadow

    chickenmeadow Crowing

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    I would go straight for the DE & sprinkle some on her back, nests, roosts & general coop chicken hangout areas (or maybe a mix of DE & pyrethrin powder), if it doesn't fix soon then go for the above mite remedies that would surely be needed to eradicate this issue. Maybe that's just the stubborn organic girl in me to do the lesser first. Also, if you have a rooster then he may be breeding her more often. But, are those black specks seen on her back in your pics mites or dirt specks from dust bathing? She sounds like a fine hen, who gives it her all. Best wishes.
     
  2. casportpony

    casportpony Enlightened

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    I tried DE and it did nothing to treat lice in mine. :idunno
     
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  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

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    DE will not treat a mite/lice outbreak. It's a deterrent at best. Not a cure. And if it's harmful for people to breathe, just imagine the damage that stuff can do to the delicate respiratory systems of the birds flapping around in it. Pyrethrins are a great treatment for dermal parasites, but if it's feather mites, you need something taken orally. Feather mites live inside the feather shafts, so a topical treatment won't even touch them.
     
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  4. casportpony

    casportpony Enlightened

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    @TwoCrows , don't you have some experience treating feather mites?
     
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  5. chickenmeadow

    chickenmeadow Crowing

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    Rachel Roni, I do look forward to seeing your future post on this when your hen recovers.

    An outbreak of mites on a chicken is not something that I have had a problem with, so I thank casportpony & junebugenna above for their valuable suggested info on mite treatment, & will keep this for future reference when in need. This is how we all learn here. Best wishes.
     
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  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the word

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    I've learned something recently about brittle feathers as I am dealing with a hen that is having a very rough time with several conditions going on at the same time internally.

    First, feather mites strike weak birds. Healthy birds can ward them off just as they can Cocci, worms, yeast infections, bacterial infections, ect. Yeast infections occur in birds that also suffer from low immune system fuctions and all of what I mentioned above effects the liver. A bird that suffers from a weakened or diseased liver has skin issues and very brittle feathers. Preening leads to breakage.

    Cocci, worms, all species of mites, bacterial infections, intenal laying, poor genetics (and hatchery birds are not coming from clean blood lines) improper diet from even the best feed manufacturers, too many treats or fat in the diet, damaged intestines from yeast and other parasites making it difficult to absorb nutrients, etc., anything to weaken the bird, all of this effects the liver. When the liver doesn't function normally, featheres become weak and brittle. And you cannot tell the health of the liver without an enzyme test done at your vet. The liver can be ailing and there are no outward signs, poop or otherwise.

    In this case I think adding a vitamin-probiotic supplement to the diet will help. Discontinue all grain treats and offer up greens only as treats. Add ginger and coconut oil to the diet to strength and improve feather health. These two things over time and a good molt will make a big difference and also strength the immune system keeping the intestinal tract in good health to absorb all their bodies need to thrive.

    Good luck!
     
  7. Rachel Roni

    Rachel Roni Hatching

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    What are pin feathers? As in without the plumage, I guess, just the “spine” of the feather?
    This bird just turned two, so similar to yours at her first molt. How long does the process take? She’s looked like this for weeks, if not months. I just kept expecting it to go away.
    I’ll definitely check out Feather Fixer - is it a supplement?

    Thank you!
     
  8. Rachel Roni

    Rachel Roni Hatching

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    Wouldn’t they both be infested if it were mites, though? The other one looks great. And she does dust baths also.
     
  9. Rachel Roni

    Rachel Roni Hatching

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    Thank you! So how do I add coconut oil? Just mix it into their feed?
     
  10. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    Feather Fixer is a complete feed. It has a lot of animal protein. Pin feathers look like hedgehog spines or a pin cushion, thus being why they are call "pin" feathers. If you look closely, they have barely visible tufts of feathers on the tips. They are uniform, not haphazard.

    Mites and lice don't often affect chickens with really strong immune systems, so not all your chicken may be affected.
     
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