Losing Feathers on sides of legs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jennkretz, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. jennkretz

    jennkretz Chirping

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    Apr 24, 2017
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    Hi all!

    I have 2 Black Australorps that are about 8 months old and have recently begun laying. I've noticed that lately their feathers on the sides of their legs(?) are getting a bit ragged looking. They look like they've been falling out or been pulled out. The skin is not bare, just its like grey/white fluffy baby feathers there instead of the black feathers like on the rest of their body. I've attached a photo (not of my chickens) for reference as I'm not exactly sure what part of the body to call this. My question is - is this normal? Are they perhaps fussing on an egg and some feathers are either falling off or being pulled out? I haven't noticed a ton of feathers around the coop and they normally lay when I'm at work. Just wondering if I should worry and keep an eye on this - or if it's normal and I should let it be. I can probably get a photo if needed.

    Oh, and I should mention I live in Michigan and it's been between the low 20's and mid 40's lately, in case that matters...

    I've been a chicken keeper almost one year now, so I still have a lot of learning to do!

    THANK YOU as always!
    Jenn K and "The Ladies"
     

    Attached Files:

  2. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Crowing

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    I’d refer to that as the thy,but sounds like maybe they have been pulled out,are they losing them elsewhere?
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Could be the other birds are snacking on those soft feathers.
    Is it on the outsides/backs of the leg....or their bellies/butts too?
    Thigh or drumstick? :D You'd have to feel carefully to know.

    ETA: have you looked closely at skin are parts of the feathers still there or are feathers fully plucked out?

    Also what and how exactly are you feeding?
    They may be eating feathers for animal protein.
     
  4. jennkretz

    jennkretz Chirping

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    Apr 24, 2017
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    Seems to just be there.
     
  5. jennkretz

    jennkretz Chirping

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    Apr 24, 2017
    Lake Orion, MI
    Hi there! Thanks for the ideas.
    Outsides of thighs... Does not seem to be bellies/butts - but I haven't looked that closely. These two are kind of skittish. They are not bald, so there are some feathers there, just look a little ragged/fluffy - not as sleek as before. I am feeding Nutrena 16% layer crushed pellets... Same I've been feeding since all have begun to lay. Plus grit and oyster shell, and healthy kitchen scraps. None of the other "ladies" have this issue. Free feed in a feeder, time outside of the run, in a soft-sided fenced in yard daily, although they haven't been coming out as much due to the snow. They do have a dust bath with barn lyme, play sand, and wood ash, as well. Oh, and a flock block and hanging treats to help with boredom.

    Thank you in advance for your ideas/insights!

    Jenn
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    I find it easiest to examine them off the roost after dark using a head light.
    I sit them on my lap on their backs and/or sides and use both hands to part the feathers for a good look at feathers and skin.

    Hopefully that OS and grit are in separate containers,
    to use as they deem necessary,
    and not mixed into feed.

    Layer feed is minimal nutrients and meant to be the sole feed,
    anything added can dilute those nutrients.
    Give them some animal protein as treats a couple times a week...
    ....mealworms, meat scraps, scrambled egg, canned fish, etc.
     

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