Hens with Area of Missing Feathers on Back - Not to Skin Level Though

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by HarlessGals, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. HarlessGals

    HarlessGals Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 18, 2008
    Well I've searched around the forum and can't find my exact situation, so I've decided to start a new post. I have 16 hens in a 24' x 24' x 6' space, so they are quite comfortable. Their coop is 8' x 8' x 6'. They are 6-9 months old. I have 11 hens laying eggs. I was getting as many as 8 a day and am now down to 4-5. About 4 of my hens are missing a few feathers in the middle of their back, I'd say closer to the tail. No rooster in the coop. It's not entire feathers, but a patch of an area and it looks grayish where part of the feathers are missing. Almost like their down is showing through. This is the 2nd time it has happened. As I said, egg production is down.

    It doesn't appear to be molting as I've seen described. The pecking order is established and my birds are not mean to each other. In fact the birds missing feathers are fairly high in the pecking order.

    About 2 months ago I found lice on a few birds and scrubbed down the coop, dusted coop and birds with sevin dust - the lice are gone. So I'm sure it's not a bug problem.

    They eat 16% laying crumble, oyster shell and 3-seed scratch and have all the fresh, clean water (with apple cider vinegar) they can drink. Sometimes I feed them canned corn or grapes for a snack. I use pine shavings in the coop and some coastal hay in the nesting boxes. We put a dab of coastal hay in the outside area and about every 2 months I sift a small layer of DE outside where they take their dust bathes.

    Should I be worried about this feather loss and what is it?

    Thanks for any advice. Laura in North Texas
  2. Glenda L Heywood

    Glenda L Heywood Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2009
    well it is a type of mite
    yes you will have to keep putting sevin 5% dust on them
    also the bedding should have several cups of sevein 5% spread around so that the mites and lice get killed
    Also the DE is very good IF you are using Food grade DE
    you could take and spray wet DE on the boards of the shed as mites and lice live behind the boards and come out at nite
    Here are some kinds of treatment for lice and mites
    the gray area is probably a mite infestation on the backs of your birds


    the treatment for the lice and mites is one of
    spraying and or dusting.

    Now the best spray is Adams Flea off mist for dogs and
    cats. When doing this besure and hold your finger over
    the vents of both the male and females. Not allowing
    any spray to be taken in the vent. It will cause a
    temorarily sterile bird.

    Also can use the Sevin 5% from the lawn and garden
    area of walmart and kmart. And use liberally in the
    bottom of cleaned out nest box and then replace
    bedding. Also put liberally on the cleaned floor and
    replace bedding. Sevin can be dusted on the bird and
    also when scaley leg mites come along on the bird.

    Take and use vaseline or olive oil or mineral oil or
    camphophneque and smoother the mite and heal the
    sores, but then take after the oil or vaseline or
    camphophneque is used and dip the whole leg and foot
    in seven dust. Do this for at least three times a week
    for two weeks and then twice a week for two more weeks
    should have the legs healed.

    If you can't get the old damaged scales off
    ( IF HAVE SCALEY LEG MITES) take and
    use warm water with tbsp dish soap, and soak the whole
    leg and foot for a few minuites and see if then the
    scales can be rubbed off with a soft paper towel.

    Then take and use some bag balm utter ointment or noxema and coat the whole leg and foot. Put in a 4x4 cage and keep up from the bedding and so that the bird can't rub off the medicated salve. Do this a couple times in first week and should have old scales off and new ones will grow back with the medicated salve or oil.

    Now the other good prevention is to clean the whole
    building and then spread seven 5% dust all over and
    also can add some Diatomaseous Earth to the floor
    after the seven about 1/2 inch of each, now put the
    bedding back on as deep as you want it.Generally 5-6
    inches deep.

    The birds will scratch the seven and DE up as they scratch and keep their building clean of mites.This should last for the whole brooding time in the summer in a good size shed. Always cleaning out the excess manure and wet spots from the waterers. Replace dry bedding as needed.

    Also you must then take some
    (A new car oil 1 qt and
    mix with 1/2 qt kerosene
    (B or 1 qt new car oil with
    1/2 qt linseed oil,
    (C or just 1 qt new car oil and
    1/2 qt mineral oil and with a wide paint brush. Paint
    all the whole roost poles and all the cracks and
    crevices in the wall boasrds. This is where the mites
    and lice live. I would do this twice a year for

    Also severl people use
    1% water soluble
    or 5% oil based and put on the bird. Injectable 1% is
    used inside the bird in injection or in the water. And
    5% oil based is used on the shoulder of the bird only. Not inside the birds mouth.

    Directions for 5% ivomec with oil base put on shoulder
    only not internally.
    (1 1 drop small bantam such as female OE
    (2 2 drops large bantam male like OE
    (3 3 drops most bantams
    (4 4 drops larger bantams and smaller commercial hens
    (5 5 drops commercial large fowl and smaller large
    (5 5 drops Large fowl chicken
    (7 7 drops larger males of large fowl breeds of

    (A 5% oil type Ivomec Stays on the birds for at least
    6 weeks. and is the reason it is only used on the out
    side under the feathers on the shoulder of the
    chickens. Slow release time.

    (B 1% water soulable is injectable and can be used in
    the water.
    For more information go to the web site http://www.gkpet.com Also for instructions on this in a article by Anthony Kimbrough
    on Worming. When there click on articles and Scroll
    down to the article. Also one on epernex and ivomec by Nathalie Ross there.

    Also use of Diatomaceous earth gotten from your local tractor supply, it is good for the animals and
    fowl. This added to 2 lbs of soil and or sand 1-2 cups. This makes a good dusting box inside of the chicken coop especially in the winter.

    In summer take a cup full of DE and put in a hole in the soil in several spots in the pens and they will dust in that mixture, Then you can take a cup and
    add to the natural dusting holes of birds in the soil
    around the chicken Pens at least twice a week. Mix and they dust and DE will Delouse at the same time.

    The use of De ( use only food grade DE on fowl and animals) makes a ideal dusting box for the birds.
    Put the dusting box in the chicken house and restock the DE WEEKLY.
    May need
    to add soil or sand also weekly.

    Given at the rate of 2%DE to the amount of the feed
    given each bird or animal per day it will prevent in
    the birds, soft skinned worms as DE is passed thru the
    gut the diatoms will knick the soft skinned worms and
    they die of dehydration. Then when it is defecated in
    the manure, the flies lite on it and the diatoms knick
    the flies and they die also. Sprinkle on all manure
    piles and compost piles and will keep the flies and
    odors down.

    Also you can use hydrated lime( pure white, bought in 50 lb bags at lumver yards, NOT CEMENT FINISHERS LIME MIXTURE) on the manure piles and compost piles for killing flie larva and mite and lice, which will be in the manure and straw or hay in the manura.Do not put where the birds will step in the Hydrated lime as it will burn their feet.

    The agricultural limestone dolimite crushed is good for the pens of the chicken yards.Will not burn the birds feet. Take and clean pens and put 2 inches of sand or pea gravel on and then 3 inches of the dolimite crushed agricultrual limestone and it provides good drainage for the pens.

    Then when the birds eat the ag limestone they are okay as it is calcium and can be utilized by adding 2
    tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the water daily.
    This helps the birds utilize the calcium better. Only
    pure natural apple cider viengar is the one to use.
    chemicl vinegar is no good. Has to have the "brown
    mother" in the bottom of bottle
  3. HarlessGals

    HarlessGals Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 18, 2008
    Thank you so much. This is some great information and I will get with it all right away.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by