lice/mites or attack? massive feather loss, she's miserable, terrified and very itchy

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickima, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. chickima

    chickima Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 24, 2013
    what can i do to help her?
     
  2. chickima

    chickima Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 24, 2013
    is DE just preventative? what can i do to help soothe her?
     
  3. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How many birds do you have? Is anyone else itchy? Lice and mites can quickly start affecting everyone. When they go to roost you will hear scratching and clicking and picking of feather shafts. If it's lice you will be able to see them. Look under head and neck feathers, under wings (wing pits) and around vent. Do this check at night when they are most likely to be actively moving and dining on birds.
    She also could just be molting, in which case it sucks to be her.
    This is all assuming you have checked her for injuries by now.
    There are a zillion good cures for lice and mites all over this site, find what's right for you.
     
  4. chickima

    chickima Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 24, 2013
    I cleaned out the coop and applied DE, but am entirely unable to get anywhere near our hen. She is in the coop with one other hen who seems fine. I'm not sure if I need to apply something more aggressive (peritherin) - she seems to be failing to thrive. It's been two days and she's lost a MASSIVE amount of feathers along her chest and by her lower back. It seems the other hen is being cruel to her while in the coop, but they spent all day free ranging in our yard. Their coop is massive, and I've given them plenty of food/water and grubs so they don't feel scarcity or competition.

    (We've lost 3 other birds in the past 3 years but it may be time to introduce new chicks to our home, maybe just having two of them is tough for them).
     
  5. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Until I got my new flock in may, I had just two hens left, one EE and a bantam. The bantam constantly pecked and bullied the EE in the coop. She didn't pull her feathers out though. Since I got the new flock the two old girls are happier even though they only know the others through the fence. They are six years old and I don't want to make them fight through the whole pecking order thing. You must catch that sick hen and check her out. It doesn't sound like a bug problem. Make sure she is not bleeding or the other will eventually peck her to death. It sounds like they are lonely and the one hen doesn't know what else to do but pick at the other. While they are free ranging she is busy and has no need to bother the other one. Can you separate the two in the coop with chicken wire so that they can see each other but not touch? If not, try putting no pick lotion on the ragged one every few days so her friend learns that she tastes terrible. If you don't mind spending a few dollars, a hen saddle would offer her some protection. Are they eating a commercial feed? Is the aggressive hen eating the feathers of the other? (could be a sign of protein deficiency). There are illnesses that can cause feather loss also but try/rule out these simpler things first.
     
  6. chickima

    chickima Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 24, 2013
    I think she is plucking out her own feathers - she just seems to be ripping them out of her flesh - no blood - and no signs that she has taken a dust bath since i scoured their coop and replaced all their bedding...The other one seems fine at this point...I'm so concerned and so completely unsure of what to do next but I'm unlikely to use that intense pesticide after reading all the warnings. When I approach this hen she flees and bangs into the coop walls, and seems a bit disoriented. Thank you so much for helping walk through this with me...I"m so grateful.
     
  7. chickima

    chickima Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 24, 2013
    i have 4 photos to share, but can't figure out how to get them off my iphone - can you send me your email?
     
  8. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Still, try to catch her-use a large towel to throw over her. You can check for bugs, see if there are blood feathers or pin feathers (indicates a molt). If it is a molt give her game bird feed for a few weeks. I really think she is molting and just pulling out the loose feathers. Chickens are not into self abuse so unless something horrible is going on in the coop which I doubt, the worst it could be is a nervous habit due to boredom. If it isn't bugs (which would affect both hens) there are different things you can do. Put a head of cabbage in the coop to distract her, give extra protein, game bird feed, meal worms, etc.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  9. chickima

    chickima Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 24, 2013
    So far, no blood feathers, just a seriously sad bird. I'll go buy game bird feed and mealy worms. You are so helpful! I've just sent you pix...Thanks again for any and all help.
     
  10. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I answered your email. Blood feathers don't show right away, just keep checking every few days. I'm going to see what other info I can find for you.
     

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