Lost feathers, been bald for several months

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by velacreations, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. velacreations

    velacreations Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2011
    Chihuahua, Mexico
    I've got 5 laying hens. They are young and were doing just fine, and then in January, someone gave us a rooster. He was fine for a while, and then slowly starting loosing or picking his feathers out. After a month or so, he was totally bald. The others followed, and now they are all bald and have been so for at least 3-4 months.

    I've tried everything I can think of, thinking mites, lice, internal parasites, etc. I've used wood ash/diatomaceous earth for dust baths, spray their coop for parasites, dusted and sprayed them, give them vitamins/wormer in their water, increased their feed to higher protein, etc.

    But nothing helps! They are still bald and continue to pick their feathers.

    And when I say bald, I am not talking about patches of badness. I am talking totally bald, just a few feathers on tail and wings.

    Any ideas? They are still laying eggs and otherwise seem very healthy and active, but just without feathers.
     
  2. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Dang............ got me on that one. If they are picking each other it is either because of lack of a nutrient or board. What size space are they in? Too small a space leads to picking. What are you giving them and what did you worm them with... how many days etc...?
     
  3. TinyBirds

    TinyBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow! That is really weird! Can you post a picture? I've had some missing a lot of feathers, such as the tail and back, but not the entire body surface. The hens lose the feathers off their backs and part of the wings and even the tail, due to the rooster doing his thing, so sometimes that can make them look "bald", but I'd have to compare by seeing a picture I think. The rooster might just be molting.
     
  4. velacreations

    velacreations Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2011
    Chihuahua, Mexico
    I have them in a round pen about 30 ft across with a coup/house that is 4 ft by 6 ft. I let them free range most of the time, so they are not always confined to that pen. I also move it regularly (at least once a week).

    I'll try and get some photos tomorrow.

    I'm not sure that they are picking each other. I have watched them closely, and I have never seen them pick each other significantly.

    I thought it was molting, at first, but for 6 months?

    For feed, they are getting a top notch lay pellet and grain, all that they want (free feeder).

    For the wormer and vitamins, it is a regular thing I put in their water. I don't know the brand or anything.

    I have sprayed and dusted, but didn't notice any difference. They dust regularly themselves in the wood ash/DE boxes I leave for them, but it doesn't seem to help.
     
  5. TinyBirds

    TinyBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2009
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    I haven't ever dusted or wormed our chickens, so I don't know what affect that would have, but if you see bugs on them, you can use a drop of neem oil behind the neck and under the tail, and that kills them without using other stuff. For worms you can just put garlic in the feed sometimes and that keeps it under control. Maybe you could just remove all the use of chemicals and also remove the ash/DE also, and see if that helps over time? If they get time out to free range, they can just use regular dirt. If you don't see bugs on them, I wouldn't worry about bugs as a cause. Is it very hot where you live? Sometimes if they get too hot they can look bald when they're young. I don't know about that at 6 months old though. Hmmm, you stumped me! I'm curious about the pictures later. Are there no feathers on the chest and neck area either? If it's from the rooster mating, they would just lose the feathers on their backs, wings, and back of their head, and sometimes the tail, but not the neck and chest areas. If it's from pecking on each other, I notice mostly it's in the tail area.

    ETA: I just read on some other sites that heat (or not enough shade and cool water), lack of coop-ventilation, and stress could be possible causes. The wormer could be causing extra stress (unless it's an herbal wormer in which case it's probably fine). If they aren't very skinny, they probably don't have worms anyway. Maybe they are just picking at their own feathers due to boredom or something. In any case, I hope you can figure it out - good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011
  6. velacreations

    velacreations Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2011
    Chihuahua, Mexico
    They are more than 6 months old, probably near a year now, but they have had this problem for 6 months. I didn't do anything for a while, cause I thought it was molting, but once it was obvious it was not molting, I tried some things.

    I haven't seen bugs on them or around their area.

    I guess it could by the heat and/or shade, as we've been in the 90's for 2 months. But, all of this started in February. They do have access to lots of shade, cause they free range.

    I don't think they have worms, but it was worth a try, as I have tried everything else.

    Here are some pics:

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. velacreations

    velacreations Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2011
    Chihuahua, Mexico
    I think I am going to try and just leave them free range for a few weeks, and close off their pen. If there are mites or some sort of parasite, maybe I can break the cycle.

    I am worried that it might be a disease.
     
  8. froggiesheins

    froggiesheins Overrun With Chickens

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    Jurupa Valley, CA
    Dang, those girls look terrible! OK, you know it is not breed specific. They have PLENTY of roaming room.

    A few questions:
    Where do you live?
    What are you feeding them?
    What kinda roo you got?

    I am wondering, could this be a learned habit??


    UPDATE: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=30486 Check out this thread...GREAT INFO! Ichthamol is easily available in feed stores.

    I got curious about this so I did my own exploring......
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011
  9. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2011
    Foothills of NC
    I have had a rescue african grey parrot for 11 years now and he was a plucker. Usually the pluckers pull feathers that are easiest to reach although when all those are gone, the bird may try to reach other areas. Some birds pluck their own feathers out. I see both of your chickens have similar patterns of baldness which may be indicative of a self-plucker. As a behavior in chickens, I don't know. Just a thought.
     
  10. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    I could see one self plucker, but not all of them. I would stop all chemicals for now, let them free range maybe even switch to a different feed for a bit and see if anything changes.
     

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