Missing feathers on front of neck

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MegaFauna, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. MegaFauna

    MegaFauna New Egg

    Sep 25, 2016
    Many of my hens (and even my rooster) are missing feathers on the front of their neck. On some of the hens that are worst-off, they are missing feathers all the way around their necks. Most of them are only missing some right under their "chins," though. We have 1-3 hens that are not affected at all. Some of the hens are also missing feathers on the top of their back.

    Our theories have been either (a) mites, or (b) the healthy-looking ones are pulling out the feathers of the "plucked" ones (including the rooster). We don't think it's the rooster, primarily because they begin missing feathers from the front, not the back, of their neck.

    Some background on our flock: We have 10 hens and 1 rooster now. It's a mix of Americaunas and Buff Orpingtons. The rooster is an Americauna. It seems that the Americaunas are worse-off than the buffs, as all of the unaffected ladies are Buffs. We raise goats (that we rent out to clear land for people as our primary business), but the goats are mostly separate from the chickens at this point. We have a small, mobile coop that we built like this. We move them maybe once every month or two. We always intend to move them more often, but the goats tend to eat up a lot of our time. We originally had 19 hens and the roo, but a local fox made himself known. Now, rather than letting them roam totally freely like we were before, we have them contained in some poultry netting and an electric charger when they are out during the day.

    Thinking it was mites, (and feeling desperate) we sprayed some permetherin (sp?) around the coop and into crevices in there. WE moved the coop maybe 100 yards around the house before doing this. We also sprinkled some DE around the coop.

    If it's mites, what should we do? If it is them picking on each other, what is the best strategy for dealing with that? We have the means to quarantine one at a time, but do we quarantine the ones that are being plucked or the suspected pluckers?

    If pictures will help, I can get some this evening or tomorrow morning.

    Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK

    Have you considered that it might just be a normal annual moult. At this time of year most birds over a year old lose their old feathers and grow new ones. Sometimes it is all over the body but neck moults are pretty common. They can look pretty shocking for a month or two until their new feathers come in.... Their necks may start to look like pin cushions as their new feathers shafts poke through, but they will eventually unfurl into beautiful new feathers and make them look radiant again.
    Hopefully this is what is going on in your flock. It may be that the Buffs have just not started moulting yet or perhaps they will not moult until next year depending on when they were hatched. Better to moult now whilst it is still reasonably warm than lose feathers in the middle of winter as some birds do.

    Egg production will decline or stop whilst they moult and may not resume until after the winter solstice when the days start getting longer unless you supplement with artificial light, but personally I don't begrudge my girls a break.

    Best wishes

  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
  4. MegaFauna

    MegaFauna New Egg

    Sep 25, 2016
    Sorry I forgot to address the molting! I did some research on it, but I got them last September, so it seemed like it was very early for them to be molting? (They started losing feathers 3ish months ago).
  5. jlovepj1027

    jlovepj1027 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2016
    [​IMG] it's a molt! My EE molted so badly out of nowhere I quarantined here thinking she was either A) sick or B) being eaten by the other hens. Upped her protein intake and she is happy as can be and got her new feathers in just a few weeks! [​IMG] The rest of my flock are also molting however it's hardly noticeable!

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