losing/pecking feathers and minimal egg laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by missmychicks246, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. missmychicks246

    missmychicks246 Hatching

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    Mar 19, 2014
    Hi there! My in laws chickens have been losing feathers and pecking feathers for almost a year now. You can see in the pictures. They were concerned but now they dont know what to do. They are lucky if they get one a day now, and most of the time they are broken. What is going on and what do we do to help?[​IMG]
     
  2. welasharon

    welasharon Songster

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    What are they being fed? It looks like they are free ranging in the pic? Are you sure they are not moulting? It's about that time.

    also have they checked for mites and/or lice?
     
  3. missmychicks246

    missmychicks246 Hatching

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    Mar 19, 2014
    Purena omega-3 layer. They free range sometimes but not full time. They had an issue with mites last year but they took care of it. They turned 2 in the spring and I have been saying they are molting but nobody believes me :/
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    Many people get chickens, turn them loose to fend for themselves, and toss them a handfull of scratch every so often and expect to find eggs. Eggs require proper nutrition as well as a secure environment.

    If their hens aren't receiving a daily ration of a well-balanced layer or flock raiser feed with oyster shell on the side to round off calcium needs, it's quite possible they are suffering from a mineral and vitamin deficiency, thus the tendency to pick feathers and have thin egg shells.

    If their living quarters are infested with lice or mites or fleas, this will adversely affect their health, as well. Egg laying will also suffer.

    If you want to help, take a flashlight and look around the coop after dark to see if you see any mites on the perches. Examine the birds, especially around the vent, for mites or lice. Suggest they give the coop a good cleaning and dust it liberally with Sevin.

    If the chickens aren't being fed a proper diet, that's easily fixed by purchasing a sack of layer feed. People have had wonderful results by feeding fermented feed to improperly nourished chickens. To find out more about this type of feed, visit the fermented feed thread on the "feeding and watering" forum.
     
  5. missmychicks246

    missmychicks246 Hatching

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    Mar 19, 2014
    As stated these hens are eating the proper layer feed. They also have oyster shells available 24/7. They get approptiate table scraps several times a week and free range several times a week for a few hours each time. These used to be my hens but we moved and couldnt keep them. Nothing has changed as far as diet goes but their health seems to be declining. I will check again for mites
     
  6. welasharon

    welasharon Songster

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    I am inclined to go with molting as well. Time will tell. Rule out the bugs and then there is not much else to do but watch and wait. I have feathers everywhere from molting. Have they seen feathers around?
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    Sorry for the redundancy. I was composing my post while you were posting yours.

    Now that all the facts are in, I will toss in my vote for molting, as well. My flock here in the Rockies are beginning fall molt already, a bit earlier than last year. The way you can tell molting from feather picking is to check the nude areas on the chickens. If the feathers are missing or broken, and no pin feathers are uniformly emerging, you have feather picking. If you see clumps of emerging pin feathers in the ravaged areas, you can pretty much be certain of molting.

    If you're in the northern hemisphere, you could safely assume it's molting, though.
     

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