My hen has been plucking her feathers out like crazy! And it's gotten bad... please help.

NickHeitman

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Sep 9, 2019
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I live in Wisconsin. This past June when the weather got warm, this girl started loosing the feathers above her tail and around her neck. I attributed it to my rooster (no longer in the picture), so I got her a chicken saddle so she might heal. The chicken saddle made her lose the feathers around her wings, so I gave up on that because it was only making things worse.

In mid-July, I noticed a significant mite problem in my coop. I pressure washed the entire thing and dusted the cracks with DE, added DE to their dust bath (though they didn't like it), and sprayed all four hens with Vetericyn (because at this point they all had some feather loss from the mites).

Every once and a while I'll spot 1 or 2 mites around the coop, but not nearly as many as there used to be. (I always kill them.) My three other hens have recovered mostly fine, with a few feathers missing here and their... but this girl is beyond repair. And she's near the bottom of the pecking order. The back and sides of her neck are almost completely bald.

She keeps getting worse no matter what I do, and I don't know how to find a vet in the area that can treat her. I've also tried "Rooster Booster Pick-No-More Cover-Up Lotion for Poultry," but that just died her skin purple. Then I read somewhere to try vasoline to keep the others from picking her and to keep her from picking herself. That didn't work at all and actually ruined her remaining feathers and she looks like a drowned rat. I could tell it made her feel good though, when I was applying it, so I don't consider it a total loss.

This past weekend I gave her a warm bubble bath to get the vasoline off, and it hardly worked! Did I not use enough soap? I used tons. It's September now and I'm worried it will start getting cold soon. As a last-ditch effort I purchased a polyester-knit chicken sweater on Etsy. It should arrive any day now. I really hope it helps her and doesn't end up being some ridiculous cutesy costume.

What should I do? Please help! How can I find a chicken vet in the area? What would you do to help the girl out?
 

Wyorp Rock

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If the feathers are broken off and the feather shaft is still intact in the skin, those will not be replaced until she molts.

Seeing mites still in the coop, you may want to use a Permethrin based poultry spray or dust to treat the coop and hens to kill those that are lingering.

Are you seeing her physically picking out her own feathers or is she preening?
 

NickHeitman

Hatching
Sep 9, 2019
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If the feathers are broken off and the feather shaft is still intact in the skin, those will not be replaced until she molts.

Are you seeing her physically picking out her own feathers or is she preening?

Okay that is pretty good news! It looks the the feathers on her back, wings, and neck will grow back.

I guess by definition I only see her "preening", but she’s missing almost all of the little fluffy feathers under her wings, abdomen, and around vent. I assumed it was self inflicted.
 
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ValerieJ

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View attachment 1903761 View attachment 1903762
Every once and a while I'll spot 1 or 2 mites around the coop, but not nearly as many as there used to be. (I always kill them.)
I have not had to deal with mites yet, but I would imagine they are like any other parasite. If you see one or two, there are many more hiding out. Have you looked her over really close for them? I agree with Wyorp Rock. You need to use something stronger in the coop if the DE is not keeping mites away. You can get a spray or powder to put directly on your chickens too.

Poor girl. Hope she is better soon.
 

Eggcessive

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Chickens molt around 16-18 months old and then yearly thereafter for the mist part. In some chickens you may not notice a molt except for the loss of tail feathers, while others look featherless in large patches. They will usually stop laying while molting. Every chicken will molt at different times. Hopefully she will molt soon, grow her feathers back in. Elector PSP and permethrin are very good for mites, and permethrin is good for treating the coop, nests, and roosts, after removing bedding. It lasts a month.
 

MANNA-PRO

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