Mysteriously Missing Feathers?! Please advise

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kittycat23, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. kittycat23

    kittycat23 Chillin' With My Peeps

    64
    0
    67
    Jul 7, 2014
    [​IMG]
    My silver laced Wyandotte has mysteriously lost some feathers on her upper wing. I have done some research and people suggest that it could be due to lice or mites. HOWEVER I checked her very thoroughly and she doesn't have any bugs whatsoever!
    Do you have any idea what else it could be? Could it be the alpha hen pecking her? Do you think rats could be biting her at night??

    Thanks for all your help![​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    10,222
    3,603
    406
    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Do you have a rooster?


    Watch the flock to see is another hen is doing this or if she is plucking her own feathers.

    I see broken feathers, if you suspect that a rat could be entering your coop at night, then you may want to do some trapping. Generally I think a rodent would go for the feet though.

    It's possible this could be done during roosting. Another possibility would be feather mites, these bore under the skin/feather shaft-they cannot be seen with the naked eye, so watch to see if your girl is plucking at herself, this could give an indication that she is uncomfortable.
     
  3. kittycat23

    kittycat23 Chillin' With My Peeps

    64
    0
    67
    Jul 7, 2014
    Thank you for your answer! But no I do not have a rooster. But there is one hen who is at the top and rules the roost so it is probably her pecking her?

    What should I do for her skin? And about her being pecked?

    Thanks for your help!!!
     
  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    10,222
    3,603
    406
    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    You can apply some Pick-No-More or Blue Kote to the skin, this may help lessen the redness.

    There are many reasons for pecking, nutritional/vitamin deficiencies, overcrowding, boredom, etc.
    You may want to increase protein intake, sometimes feather picking is lack of protein.
    Having enough roosting space at night and a large run or free range during the day can help with overcrowding issues. Give them some things to do if they are kept in a run, add perches to the run, hang fruit/veggies for them to pick at, dump in some leaves or weeds from the garden for them to hunt and scratch through.

    Sometimes it is the "Alpha Hen" that does the picking, but when roosting, the lower in pecking order girls can get in on the action as well, their "victim" is beside them in the dark, so they take advantage. If you can figure out who is doing the picking, then isolate/remove them for a few days away from the flock. Then put them back in, sometimes this may help disrupt the bad habit, but not always.

    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/03/chicken-feather-loss-cannibalism-causes.html
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by