Missing Feathers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mariaschickens, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. mariaschickens

    mariaschickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 8, 2012
    So, one of my ladies is missing a lot of her feathers across her back...bc of my roo... my question is how long does is take for her feathers to grow back? And when should i be worried? I know that the roos will tread on the girls, but it looks like her skin is getting pink and irritated.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    When will they grow back? If the entire feather including shaft is gone, they should grow back within a month or so. If part of the shaft is left, they probably won’t grow back until she molts.

    The risk is that she may get cut. Chickens can be cannibals. If a hen gets an open cut, the others may eat her alive. This does not happen all the time but it can. If you are seeing bear exposed shin that is red, you probably need to do something.

    You may want to do a search on chicken aprons or saddles. These are pieces of cloth the hen wears to protect her from the rooster’s claws when he treads her.

    People seem to be hung up on a rooster’s spurs causing this. The only time I’ve seen this is when the roosters are fairly young and the spurs have not come in well but they have sharp claws. You will see a lot about trimming a rooster’s spurs, but what I suggest is look at a way to trim his claws. I’ve used a Dremel tool to just cut his claws straight across. Don’t take a lot off and it’s just like trimming your toenails. Take too much off and you hit the quick. I’m not talking about taking a lot off, just take away the sharp point and blunt them. You can probably use dog nail clippers or something like that but the only thing I’ve ever done is use the Dremel tool.

    There are different possible causes for this. It’s possible that the rooster has her as a favorite. Some hens are more accepting of a rooster’s advances so she may get mated more often. Sometimes a rooster’s technique isn’t very good. This happens a lot with fairly young roosters. They usually outgrow it. Some hens, especially young pullets, will resist a rooster’s advances so he treats her rougher. Again, most pullets outgrow this. Some hens have brittle feathers so they are more likely to be damaged than hens with better feather quality.

    There are a lot of different reasons this could be happening to that specific hen. It sounds like you may be to the point you need to do something. Putting a saddle on her may solve your problem and give them a chance to mature if they are young.

    You probably don’t want to hear this but when it happened to me, I ate the hen that was having the problem. The problem went away and did not recur. If I can solve the problem by removing the hen, how can I blame the rooster? The pullets I hatched from those that did not have the problem never had the problem. This makes me think it was a genetic feather-quality problem, but I’m not sure.

    Good luck!
     
  3. mariaschickens

    mariaschickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 8, 2012
    thank you so much... i acually lost a hen a few weeks ago due to a very deep cut to the back from my roo, his toenails cut her wide open, it was really horrible. We ate him, he was also very aggresive with the other hens and animals . But now i think that the problem may be that she is a favorite. Thanks for telling me about the apron, i will look for them, i would really like to keep my good laying hen around..lol.
     

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