Lost Feathers and crusty buildup

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Jul 17, 2016
My mother-in-law told had 4 chickens all different breeds, a silver laced Wyandotte, a Rhode Island Red, a red star and a black Australorp. About 6 weeks ago she called me and told me her Australorp was losing feathers and her comb didn’t ‘look right’. I told her the bird was probably molting (late for a molt but I’ve heard of worse) and another hen had probably pecked her. I got a look at her a week later and it looked like she was molting but her comb was swollen and part was purple. I checked online and told my mother-in-law to call a vet and see what the vet suggested. The vet suggested keeping an eye on her since otherwise she was acting just fine.

Now the bird’s feathers are coming off and they are crusty and stuck together in a hard clump that isn't attached to the skin but is attached to the surrounding feathers and therefore 'flips' away from the bird (see picture) the Rhode Island Red died all of a sudden a couple of days ago – she checked on them in the morning and the bird was dead in the afternoon; we did call the local authorities to report the sudden poultry death they weren’t interested as all threat of avian flu is gone now and the other birds are still alive, the vet didn’t have any suggestions. The Australorp has ‘black spots’ that are sometimes on her skin and sometimes not (because I couldn’t find any evidence of them when I looked and my mother-in-law is slightly color blind so they could have been purple spots). I can’t get good descriptions from my mother-in-law so I took as good of pictures as I could with a slightly-struggling chicken. Other than the feather loss and crusty bits the bird is acting normal, the other two birds are acting normal too. The Rhode Island Red was acting normal before she died. What is this? Could it be mites or lice? Is it something worse? How do we treat it?


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