Lost Feathers/Redish Skin ongoing for many months

Ont_Chuck_78

In the Brooder
May 28, 2018
12
12
31
Northern Ontario
Hello,

I have 2 Red Sex-Link and 2 Barred Plymouth Rock got them as chicks March of 2018. The coop is 4X8 plenty of fresh water and pellets, during the day they free range large lot. Poop looks OK, have not noticed any change. I am getting a consistent 3 - 4 eggs a day, they do not seem nervous or out of sorts.

As you can see in the first photo the difference in the 2 Red's. The one in the back has missing feathers along the tail an neck.

In the second photo you can see a red area on the left Black. Her whole back side is bare for this my assumption is a broody chicken, she does spend a lot of time in the roost.

Things I have tried
- Changed feed (higher protein)
- Added oyster shells to compensate for higher protein food
- Cleaned out the coop completely (deep litter method used)
- Turn the coop weekly
- Added some Damascus earth to coop
- Segregation of one hen (she was bossy)
- Changed the nesting bars only 1 level

This has been going on for some time and I am not seeing any improvement, I am getting concerned as we are coming into the fall and winter soon behind.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
 

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EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,971
832
California's Redwood Coast
This has been going on for some time and I am not seeing any improvement, I am getting concerned as we are coming into the fall and winter soon behind.
Feathers will not improve until molt most likely, should be coming soon. When molt starts you'll notice the explosion of feathers and decrease in eggs. You should also see pin feathers starting to come in, once this happens.

Use a flash light or head lamp after dark and check the ladies for parasites. Part the feathers below the vent and on the abdomen down to the skin and look for crawlie things running away. This is the easiest time to see them. Also look if there are any "dirt" clumps at the base of the feathers, those would be poultry lice eggs. Run a white paper towel under your roost during this evening adventure and check for red smears that might be from red mites that live in wood cracks and only come out to feed on the birds.

A broody hen will spend her time in the box, not on roost. They also quit laying eggs and only come out to eat and drink real quick, rushing back to the lay box... often making a clucking sound and puffed up sometimes growling. This doesn't sound like your current issue.

Sometimes the bare bum if red and swollen/puffy can be an indicator of something more like internal laying or liver issues. But I would focus on the other suggestions first since you're still getting eggs and such.

DE... might help keep things dry. But it is mostly irrelevant with regards to parasite control... especially if you have an outbreak/infestation or in a humid environment. My local friend who uses DE also had to be shown the active parasites on their birds AND follow up treatment with a permethrin based spray, which is very effective and requires no egg withdrawal when used according to directions. It is sold in the equine section, very affordable, and comes under many names and ready to use or concentrated. The one I use..
TE006407

https://the-chicken-chick.com/the-cut-dry-truth-about-diatomaceous/

https://the-chicken-chick.com/raising-chickens-naturally-diatomaceous/

https://the-chicken-chick.com/diatomaceous-earth-de-benefitrisk/

Dual purpose birds will do best on at least 18% protein. I most often use Purina flock raiser with 20% protein. With oyster shell on the side free choice.. I have never yet had an an issue with soft shell unless it was new or returning layer from molt or brooding just having a hiccup getting their system back on line.

Have you integrated you bossy hen back yet?

Hope this helps give you some ideas. Sounds like you're paying attention and working hard to get it right! :fl
 

Ont_Chuck_78

In the Brooder
May 28, 2018
12
12
31
Northern Ontario
A broody hen will spend her time in the box, not on roost

My bad in choice of words. Yes she spends her time in the box. I had 2 boxes, had more hens. So I reduced it down to 1, since then I have seen her out more often. Also every other day or so I lock them outside for half the day (not sure if this is a good thing).

Have you integrated you bossy hen back yet?

Yes she is back had an issue where one hen was badly beaten so we took the culprit out and nursed the injured hen in my basement (pic attached)

Use a flash light or head lamp after dark and check the ladies for parasites.

Will jump on the parasite check ASAP. The coop is dry and I have increased the ventilation. Due to the cold weather we have in northern Ontario I have the box insulated with a Rockwool insulation hoping this would keep pests out, so I think I may have sealed it too much.

Again thanks for the suggestions will keep creeping and post updates if anything changes.
 

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EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,971
832
California's Redwood Coast
Due to the cold weather we have in northern Ontario
Adding this to your profile will help peeps make the best suggestions possible at a glance. :)

I think most folks only lock hens out if they are trying to break them from being broody. It could encourage them to try and find an alternative nesting location. If I did it with actively laying hens I would have to hunt for hidden nest and I've got too many blackberries for that to be fun. Whatever your reason for doing it, they are creatures of habit and will do and adapt to whatever you make routine for them.

Sounds like you have a good grasp on things and are well primed to enjoy all that BYC has to offer, Welcome! :frow
 

Ont_Chuck_78

In the Brooder
May 28, 2018
12
12
31
Northern Ontario
Well did all the checking indicated and found no parasites, lice or mites. So now I am waiting for them to molt. No change to any of the girls so that seems to be a good sign. Now to start getting them ready for the winter!!! LOL thanks all.
 

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