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hens with egg shaped bald patches on rumps????

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mountainroost, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. mountainroost

    mountainroost Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2009
    Ashland, OR
    About two weeks ago I noticed that one of my BO hens had a bald spot on her rump, it was about the size of an egg funnily enough, but lower than her vent. I felt it and it felt a little like there might be an egg behind it. She wasn't acting bothered by it so I decided to watch it. No one else had any spots. The next day she had a spot on the side of her chest that was bald with a little cut on it. I didn't know if she had done it to herself or someone else. I see very little squabbling and have never seen pecking, but I know they can be sneaky. But I thought maybe she was in pain from something going on on her behind and was pecking herself. She never acted any differently though. The feathers on her chest are growing back but her butt is still bald and the skin looks a little red.
    NOW, In the past three days I have noticed 3 more chickens with bald spots. One EE I noticed had a bald spot near the base of her tail the other day. She is one of the more dominant ones and always gets the prime roost spot she wants. Again not showing any symptoms. Today I noticed a brown leghorn had the same bareness at the base of her tail (on her back) with a little blood on it. AND one of my RIR has the same bald butt as the BO.
    It has been really cold here for the last few weeks and I think this all might have started when i started using a red heatlamp at night. The problem is now I have these chickens with bald spots and it is getting down to 10 degrees tonight, so i feel like i can't try turning the heatlamp off.
    I was just out there tonight with a headlamp looking for mites, but I don't know what I'm looking for exactly. I didn't see any bugs or moving things on them- I looked mostly around the bald areas. If it is a pecker, how do I catch the perpetrator?
    I have 10 hens in all, no rooster. They get oyster shell, organic layer pellets, a little corn daily. Before this started they got a lot of pumpkin from leftover pumpkins from halloween. Routinely they get some greens I buy at the store a few times a week, once in a while some leftover cooked rice or oatmeal, and yogurt and flaxmeal once a week. They have pine chips in the bottom of the coop, deep litter, roosts high above this. The heat lamp points down under the roost so the heat can rise, but the light isn't pointing on them. They have all been laying almost every day still, except for a completely feathered EE that decided to go broody at the same time as all this was happening and stopped laying- a whole story to itself that has been fairly amusing actually.
    Another element i just though of is that i use a poop shelf below the roost. This allows me to keep the coop cleaner, but it also allows chickens to walk or sit right behind another chicken who is roosting. What I am imagining is one chicken sitting on the roost and one chicken sitting on the poop shelf with its head right by anothers butt, picking maybe?
    Any thoughts on what is causing it and more importantly how to stop it are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Daisygirl

    Daisygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 10, 2009
    New Zealand
    Post pictures, it may be fungal, etc. also is she eating as much as the others and does she seem to be at the bottom of the "food chain?"
     
  3. mountainroost

    mountainroost Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2009
    Ashland, OR
    She is as interested in food as the rest, I'm not sure about actual quantity. All the bald patch ones are acting completely normal, and all the ones with bald patches are top or middle of the food chain i think. They really do not squabble much so it is a subtle thing, the two i perceive as the lowest on the food chain have no bald patches, yet. Pictures will have to wait till tomorrow afternoon. It is dark and I have work and kids early in the morning.
     
  4. edselpdx

    edselpdx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Portland, OR
    Could you just be seeing some molting? My BO is doing a "mini-molt" just now as the temps drop into the 20's in Portland. She's only 8 months old and I thought they didn't really molt until their 2nd fall, but BYC taught me otherwise.
     
  5. mountainroost

    mountainroost Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2009
    Ashland, OR
    My chickens are 8 months old. Could they be molting? I have never been through it so i don't know what it looks like. It is 5 degrees tonight, what evolutionary craziness would make them molt now? (I have a heat bulb on out there, but its still cold.) Also, the two with feathers missing on their back just above their tail had a little blood. I put antibiotic ointment on it and I haven't see any fresh blood, but would that happen with a molt? Maybe someone picking on their bald spots, or could they hurt themselves picking off their feathers?? Noone is acting too bothered and everyone is still laying except my broody one, but i still want to know what is going on.
     
  6. SheltonDHW

    SheltonDHW Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 3, 2009
    Shelton, WA
    This sounds exactly like what is happening to my EE. I hope it is just moulting...
     
  7. edselpdx

    edselpdx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Portland, OR
    Only one of my 3 ladies is molting, and it's not a full-on no-feathers-left molt. They hatched 4/1/09. Poor Demeter looks a bit scraggly though. No mites or lice on her. She's bopping around the backyard with her "sisters" like nothing's wrong in the 20 degree weather now. I first noticed a few feathers a few weeks ago, and also noticed she wasn't laying for me around the same time (I do not supplement light). Then her comb was paler than usual. I poked around BYC and found that some birds do a "mini-molt" their first fall. It does seem to be pretty counterintuitive that they'd wait for December, though. She happy and behaving normally otherwise.

    I did put a heat lamp in the coop yesterday as it's been really bitterly cold and windy here. (Yes, I realize that's more for my peace of mind than for their good). It is not keeping it warm enough to maintain liquid water in the coop though, so I'm gonna look for a heated water container later today (me and every other chicken keeper in Portland.) In the meantime, I'm bringing out fresh liquid water every few hours during the day and making sure they have plenty of food and some extra scratch and treats to stay warm with.

    I think if you've got no other symptoms, it's likely a molt. Rule out the obvious other issues with a mini-physical if you can. Mites, lice--check around the vent area? bright eyes? How's her posture? how's her weight? If you're concerned that she's egg-bound, check her vent with some lube and your finger to see if you can feel an egg. I think a truly egg-bound hen wouldn't be acting normally though. You can also use a bit of Blu-Kote or something on the red spots if you're concerned about picking. They will sometimes pick at each other if there is blood/scab.
     

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