molting or not

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by egg yoke, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. egg yoke

    egg yoke New Egg

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    Feb 8, 2012
    I have a chicken who is loosing her feathers on her back side. She is about five to six months old. Now i am starting to notice another hen starting to loose her feathers. Most of them are tail feathers and around its butt. I have looked for bugs did not see anything. Was going to powder them with sevens, but maybe they are just molting. Can anyone help.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    No, it's not molting. That pattern of feather loss is usually either feather picking by the others or lice / mites, or both. it's easy to miss those little critters, they are so tiny, and some types hide out in the coop all day and only get on them at night. Feather picking is usually due to too little space, boredom, or too little protein in the diet. The latter sometimes happens unintentionally, from giving too many treats or chicken scraps. If you Don't feed a regular ration, that's most likely your problem. Around here, for example, the "common knowledge" is that scratch or cracked corn along with foraging is a good diet, but that's just not true. I have seen cracked corn with a sign in front of it saying "chicken feed" in stores around here.

    I've also heard an experienced chicken person say, if you have chickens, you have mites. All it takes (for a few) is for a wild bird to fly over. I routinely sprinkle a little Sevin, or spray a permethirn/pyrethrin spray, in nests and around the coop -- not daily by any means, but now and then. New hay in the nests gets treated, for example. I've never seen any bugs on mine, but I can't believe there have never been any at all.

    Let me give you a couple of links that hopefully will help you sort this out.

    http://ucanr.org/freepubs/docs/8162.pdf

    http://msucares.com/poultry/management/poultry_feathers.html

    http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/library/lvstk2/mf2308.pdf
     

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