Molting or something wrong?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by TXChickMama, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. TXChickMama

    TXChickMama Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 29, 2015
    Hockley, TX
    I just noticed one of my hens has a bare bottom today. Is she molting or could it be something else? Mites? Lice? What do I look for if it's mites/lice? She seems to be the only one affected, but I will go out and take a closer look later. She hatched Halloween of 2015. I don't know much about molting as this is my first flock.

  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 24, 2013
    That doesn't look like molting to me. I've seen similar problems in quite a few egg laying hens owned by several different owners, usually for unexplainable reasons: even after treating for mites/lice, offering high protein feed, and observing for feather picking, most of the hens still had bare spots. That makes me think some birds are genetically predisposed to developing bare areas underneath and around their vents.

    Still, I would probably start by treating your hen for mites/lice. You can dust her (and the other birds, preferably) with Sevin dust or poultry dust, or apply a few drops of topical Ivermectin to her skin. Mites would appear as moving black or red specks, and signs of lice would include slow moving yellowish creatures and eggs stuck at the base of feathers. The mites can hide relatively well, though, so it is often a good idea to treat even if you don't definitely see mites on the bird.

    You could also try increasing this particular hen's protein intake. One way to do this are to offer her scrambled eggs, mealworms, wet cat food, or other high protein extras. Or, you could switch your whole flock temporarily to a higher protein feed like gamebird grower feed or chick starter feed.

    Lastly, I would make sure she isn't getting picked on by the other birds. Observe the flock's behavior throughout the day and see if she is having her feathers plucked out.

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