Hens with feather loss

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Critterlady97, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. Critterlady97

    Critterlady97 New Egg

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    Apr 7, 2014
    We have 16 hens, and they have had quite a lot of feather "problems" for the last 2 months. I do not have any roosters, there is one mean hen, but her pecking is minimal, and we have 3 geese in with the hens, but again I have seen very little bullying/pecking. They are not lethargic in the least, they rush me every time I go out to see them (they go crazy when they get vegie/fruit scraps lol :D ) They have a very large pen, and free range most evenings/afternoons. We collect 8-14 eggs a day, and change the nesting often. They are on a layer pellets, and have access to calcium. We ordered them from Murray McMurray 11 months ago. I have never experienced this kind of feather damage, and do not now how to cure it. I have powdered them with a mite pesticide, and sprayed an oregano/vegetable oil mix on the roost and in the corners of the hen house. I have not noticed any change. I have not seen any mites or bugs other than a few spiders (I have looked at the hens and around the coop). I have had many requests for chicks this spring but I do not want to bring a rooster in until they are back to normal... What kind of pest/illness is causing this. How can I cure them?

    The photos are of the worst spots on a few of the hens.
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    My poor hens are awful raggedy right now.... :( Please help.
    Thanks.
     
  2. darkbrahmamama

    darkbrahmamama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My first guess, with the time of year it is, would be they're going through a molt. Mine look pretty shabby right now, too.
     
  3. Critterlady97

    Critterlady97 New Egg

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    Okay, thank you :). If they do not improve (in the next month or so?) should I be concerned?
     
  4. darkbrahmamama

    darkbrahmamama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Every chicken is different. A molt can last around 4 to 12, or even more, weeks. Try giving extra protein, maybe a chicken feed with more protein. I give mine black oil sunflower meaties mixed with scratch every night to get them inside. Plus dried mealworms with mealworm suet pellets once they start to molt until spring, or warm weather. They also get insect suet when it's REALLY cold. Then again, they get a little well cared for .... some say spoiled. :) If you've dusted with a chemical, treated their living areas, etc, then it's probably not an external parasite.
     
  5. Noobchick

    Noobchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All those broken feathers? Lice. The birds break their own feathers from overpreening to try to get rid of lice. Have you checked the actual birds? Look on their back, between their shoulders. You'll have to raise their feathers up to be able to see down to their skin. Do a google search for "poultry lice" to find pics of what to look for. They'll be crawling along the feather shafts.

    Lots of options to cure lice. A search on this site will give you lots of info. Personally, I choose to use food grade Diatomaceous Earth in their dustbathing areas and a little in their coop. I refresh it every so often.

    Good luck.
     
  6. Critterlady97

    Critterlady97 New Egg

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    Apr 7, 2014
    Thank you
     
  7. Critterlady97

    Critterlady97 New Egg

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    Apr 7, 2014
    I will take another look at the hens, and continue to treat them. Thanks for the help
     

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