Missing feathers / moulting? Help pls

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by richardbridge8, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. richardbridge8

    richardbridge8 New Egg

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    Mar 25, 2017
    Hi there

    I have three hens who we have had for eighteen months. They have all seemingly got along well with each other but I am now starting to wonder. During the day, there is no sign of feather pecking. They all moulted to varying degrees at the end of last year although the black one has not grown her feathers back. I have checked a couple of forums out a while back that suggested they can moult for up to six months and whilst it is not six months yet, I am concerned that I am not taking appropriate action.

    Can anyone definitively say whether this is a case of feather pecking or a long stage of moulting. I noticed that the white hen also has a patch on her chest missing which made me think the third one (a lightish brown hen) may be pecking the other two. If it is feather pecking, what do members suggest? They currently stay together at night in an Omlet. How would members suggest separating them up without going to the expense of buying a new hen house for just one or two? Would the feather pecking spray work?

    Any help would be gratefully received as am worrying about it.

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  2. peeper89

    peeper89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    lice, mites and bugs is problem. look like they plucked too - other hen or rooster pulling fether out
     
  3. richardbridge8

    richardbridge8 New Egg

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    Mar 25, 2017
    I have checked for bugs and mites and thoroughly cleaned out the Omlet - so how would I look to address the issue of bugs and mites?
     
  4. samemerson17

    samemerson17 Just Hatched

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    If you think it might be mites I would try some diatomaceous earth. (food grade) You can sprinkle some in the coop, put some under your chickens wings and just on there body in general, also you should mix it into their food. That should get rid of any bugs there may be. Hope this helps! [​IMG]
     
  5. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Hi[​IMG] Welcome To BYC

    It looks like they have some feather picking going on. Checking them over for lice/mites would be a good idea as well.

    How much space is in the Omlet?
    How large of an area do they have during the day (run space)?

    One main cause of feather picking is not enough space, some other causes can be lack of protein (chickens eat the new feathers coming in) and boredom.
    Provide them with some things to do - hang fruit/veggies for them to pick at, provide perches in the run, dump in some clean dry pine needles/leave for them to dig through and a dust bathing area. Offer them some poultry vitamins and extra protein like egg or tuna in addition to their normal feed.

    For lice/mites, once there is an infestation, it is best to treat the coop and chickens with a Permethrin based poultry dust or spray. Clean out the coop completely. Repeat treatment in 7days.

    Keep us posted.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1151513/pesticides-approved-for-poultry
     
  6. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    That is not molting. Contrary to common belief, it's very rare for parasites to cause feather loss. I've never seen feather loss in the case of a mild infestation out of maybe 500 or 600 birds I've treated for mites and lice over the years, and even the worst infestation I have ever seen (to the point where I could grab the bird and watch several HUNDRED bug scatter when I lifted her wing) did not cause anything more than what I would describe as mild feather loss. This looks like either very severe feather picking, or damage due to rubbing on a surface.

    What do you feed them? (Be specific). How much space do they have and could you post photos of their coop and run?

    A dog crate works perfectly fine to temporarily separate a bird. Really, you want her completely out of sight and hearing range of the other birds. An anti-picking spray is one option, but I believe separation would be ideal in your case. You also want to look for an underlying cause, as this is a decently severe case.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
  7. richardbridge8

    richardbridge8 New Egg

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    [​IMG][​IMG]Hi there

    Really appreciate your advice. The hens eat layers pallets, left over greens, occasional porridge and sardines (for protein). They have cider vinegar in their water and herbal things to peck at. They also have dust bath areas too. I have attached photos of the Run which I would be surprised if it wasn't big enough for three hens.

    I have checked them for mites and bugs so would be surprised if it was this.

    I will definitely separate her - would you suggest separating her day and night? And would you separate just till she gets her feathers back and then look to reintroduce?

    Any help gratefully received. [​IMG][/IMG][/IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    You would want to separate the offender (feather picker). Find out which one it is - usually the hen that has the least damage. What you are trying to do is break the habit. So as @QueenMisha suggests a wire dog kennel works well or if you can make a place for her out of site that would be ideal.

    Apply a little Blu Kote to the one that has the worst damage to help hide the redness and heal the skin where the feathers have been plucked out.

    It looks like they have a nice setting[​IMG]
     

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