Missing head and neck feathers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by rachelwright, Jan 20, 2017.

  1. rachelwright

    rachelwright Out Of The Brooder

    18
    1
    26
    Feb 24, 2014
    Decatur, GA
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    What's going on here?! At first I thought they were just molting, but this seems to be something different. 3/5 of my chickens have missing head and neck feathers. They don't fight much, and otherwise they are eating, drinking and behaving normally. I put DE in with their bedding and in their dust bath. Could this be lice?
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    How old are they? The hen in the background in the first picture appears to molting due to her missing tail feathers. The one with missing neck feathers could be molting also, or getting her feathers picked out. Molting occurs around 16-18 months old, and yearly thereafter. It always helps to look under the vent area and elswhere for lice and mites. Permetrhin spray or dust are best for the those used at 7 day intervals until no more are seen. If feather picking is a problem, give them a little extra protein in the diet, use some BluKote to hide the bare spots, and make sure they are getting outside to free range.
     
  3. rachelwright

    rachelwright Out Of The Brooder

    18
    1
    26
    Feb 24, 2014
    Decatur, GA
    I know that 2/3 are molting that have the spots, but the third one just got done molting a month or so ago. I checked their vents and necks for sign of bugs and I didn't see any. I've added more protein into their diets and they do get free range time. Is it normal for chickens to lose their neck and head feathers while molting? None of my other chooks have.
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Yes, they will lose feathers in patches first on the necks and head. But also I have seen chickens just stand idly by while their coop mates pick feathers off of them when they are sitting around or even on the roosts. Usually with a molt, you will see evidence of blue pin feathers growing in the patch of missing feathers. If you want to read more about it and see pictures, these 2 links are good:
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/217/moulting-a-natural-process/
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2011/12/molting-what-is-it-and-how-to-help.html
     

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