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More Than Molting

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DLMacSmith, May 16, 2016.

  1. DLMacSmith

    DLMacSmith New Egg

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    May 16, 2016
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    Since the fall two of our 7 hens have had feather issues (or lack of). Silver Laced Wyandotte has a bare spot on the base of her back (see pic) and the Americanus has a bare bottom and only downy feathers on her lower back. I have checked for insects/lice...no sign of them but treated anyway on the bird and in the coop/run. We spray them with bluekote just to keep the area covered. None of the other hens are pecking at them, anymore. They primarily eat extra egg layer pellets and get meal worms and greens as treats. Any suggestions to point us in the right direction to heal/promote feather growth would be appreciated![​IMG]

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  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Boy, that is odd.
    They molted in fall and never grew healthy feathers back?
    How old are birds?
    Other birds molted and did grow back healthy feathers?
    Any feather picking going on?
    Might need higher protein feed.

    What and how did you treat with?
    More info on your coop and flock might help.
    Size(feet by feet) of coop and run?
    Number of birds?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  3. DLMacSmith

    DLMacSmith New Egg

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    May 16, 2016
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    Thanks for your reply to my post. Here are answers to your questions, additional info always helps!

    They molted in fall and never grew healthy feathers back? - A: Since Fall they never grew back? Silverlaced W's back has remained bald since then. Ameracanus has battled molting since the fall, losing them on her bottom is new from early spring. That's when I treated her and the coop with the Diatomaceous Earth product for mites/insects.
    How old are birds? - A: One year old.
    Other birds molted and did grow back healthy feathers? - A: Correct
    Any feather picking going on? - A: By others? No. Ameracanus picks now and then. I wondered if she could be allergic to the straw we put in nesting boxes (Possible?)
    Might need higher protein feed. - A: I'll look into it.
    What and how did you treat with? - A: I treated recently (coop and birds) with Diatomaceous Earth . I also apply bluekote on the affected areas to protect it (or give me a sense that it was being protected).
    More info on your coop and flock might help. - A: I got all seven chicks on the same day, a year ago in March. The coop and run are a good size, they are not crowded(i don't remember dimensions) and they have lots of room to roam outside. Both are laying eggs.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    DE won't really eradicate pests if they are present, they might help prevent them.
    If there's an external parasite infestation, poultry dust with permethrin should take care of it.
    Bluekote is an antiseptic and can be a camouflage of sorts to hide bloody wounds.

    Dimensions are important to know....crowding can be a real issue and many don't recognize it.
    ......as is climate (forgot that the first time round) putting your location in your profile can help folks give better answers/suggestions.

    Very odd feather growth, have seen it a couple times but do not recall any consensus on cause and treatment.
    That it's only on 2 out of 7 kinda makes me think some weird genetic thing rather than diet and/or pests.
     
  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree. DE is an okay preventative, but not great when you're actually dealing with an infestation. Something else to consider, some external pests live inside the feathers themselves and some don't actually remain on the bird, instead they live in the cracks and crevices of the coop and come out to feast on them at night, so you may not ever actually see them. Permethrin will get them if they're there. Treat all of the birds, clean out and treat the coop and then repeat the whole process in 7-10 days to get any missed/newly hatched bugs. Retreating is important, if you skip it, you'll just end up with another infestation.

    I do agree that the feather loss does seem odd as well. It looks more like what you'd see with rooster damage from mating, except for the hen with the bald booty. Do you have a roo or dominant hen that might be excessively mounting the ones with feather loss? If not, and no picking by others or self picking, I'd assume some kind of external parasite and treat for them asap. Good luck.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    What I find weirdest is the fluffy, downy like regrowth.....makes me think the follicle is maybe damaged, which might be(not sure) a result of feather shaft mites.
     
  7. DLMacSmith

    DLMacSmith New Egg

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    May 16, 2016
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    Thanks to you both, we will get some Permethrin and treat/re-treat! No roosters. Our Rhode Island Red picks only on the Barred Rock, and she's doing fine re: feathers etc.
     

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