Need advice ASAP on my bare back pullet(s)!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by diggergal, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. diggergal

    diggergal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last night as I was locking the pullets up I noticed one of the Welsummers seemed to have ruffled feathers/missing feathers just in front of her tail. It was dusk and I couldn't see her very well. This morning I left for work before sunrise and opened the pop door and all the pullets were still on roost and I couldn't check them. I called a friend at noon to see if she could check my chickens and she has reported that two of the three Welsummers have bare backs and a Black Australorp is missing feathers!! I am beside myself until I can get off work and get home to take care of the pullets.

    Is this from a bully pullet?? Could they have lice/mites and this happen so sudden?

    I know the Welsummer is on the lower pecking order in my flock. I have a Speckled Sussex that seems more aggressive and had considered culling but NEVER did I see excessive feather pulling. I have been getting 10 to 14 eggs a day from my flock of 6 month pullets. They had seemed very healthy and happy. Egg production has been increasing by the week.

    HELP!

    My plan of attack when I get home is to check for mites/lice but this is the first flock of chickens on the property. I have seen no signs and these symptons are quite sudden.
    I have blue cote and plan to spray the injured birds. Is this the best solution?

    If there are no bugs how do I know for sure which pullets are the bully's? Surely it is more than one. And why all of a sudden?
    About a two weeks ago I had set a light on a timer to increase daylight hours (it turned on 2 hours before sunrise). Last night when I saw the Welsummer I pulled the plug on the light. I was afraid the extra light hours was stressing the flock. My husband says I fret over too much with these chickens-but now I really do have something to fret about!
     
  2. Chicken_Pauper

    Chicken_Pauper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi... I lost my reply... so.. starting again.

    I am guessing that this didn't really happen "all of a sudden".... that you noticed a feather out of place, sticking up or a small bare spot and then checked a hen out and found the bare spot, feathers gone, but it had taken a little time to get to that point.
    You don't mention a rooster?? Or, I missed it? Do you have a rooster? How old are your hens/pullets? If there is a rooster in your flock have you seen him mounting them? Bare backs are generally the result of the rooster mounting on and mating with the hens repeatedly.

    Any flock with a rooster has bare backed hens.. unless you buy and put aprons (saddles) on the hens.

    You can buy aprons or saddles here... (OR, if you sew, you can make them.. which is cheaper for sure).... I don't think molting would be just in that area on the chicken, molting happens a feather here and a feather there, here a few, there a few, etc... this year mine have molted a lot... in the extreme, and have barespots on their heads, necks, etc... but, the bare back girls are bare because of my rooster.

    I have ordered some more saddles from this place... http://www.mbldesigns.com/chicken_aprons.html
    I had ordered and used some aprons from here, but the shipping and the prices were higher.... http://www.hensaver.com/

    The
    hens, my hens are not "injured", but they are bare backed to varying degrees... depending on how much attention the rooster gives them. (If you don't have a rooster... does a neighbor have one that can fly into your yard, have you seen or caught a rooster with your girls?).

    Good luck...
     
  3. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    Using blu-kote is a great idea. If you are really lucky the bully will get a blue beak, then you will know who the culprit is. I wonder if the dominant pullet is treading on the backs of the pullets lower on the pecking order like a rooster would do. I don't know if that actually happens among pullets, I was just wondering.
     
  4. diggergal

    diggergal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thank you for your reply. NO I do not have a rooster. My pullets are in a predator proof enclosed 8 x 35 ft covered enclosed run attached to the chicken coop. When free ranging in the evening I am always with them. We do not have another chicken withing 3 miles of our coop. It has to be pullets injuring pullets.....when not at work I watch their behaviour alot and only noticed one paticular bullying pullet but never serious injury. That being said....I work full time and they have a lot of time in their run. As I said in my orginal post the pullets are 6 months old. Not sure if I could call the back an injury or just bare backed. I will know more when I get off work tonight. Just wanted to have some direction from some of you experienced BYC's peeps.
     
  5. Chicken_Pauper

    Chicken_Pauper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hum? Well... I am guessing then that one of the pullets is taking on the dominate roll the rooster would have. I have heard this can happen? I can only suggest you do some searching here on BYC... search for the subjects related to bare backs, pullet or hen acting as rooster, molting, etc. Hope you find (find out) what you need. Good luck.
     
  6. diggergal

    diggergal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thank you, My son gets off work before I do so he is going to separate my suspected bully and isolate. If I have to isolate the 3 chickens with missing feathers I will have to find or build another cage. I only have one small 2 x 3 dog crate that I use for isolation. I am hoping by taking out the suspected bully it will settle things down. My son said he would try to spray the pullets w/blue cote but doubt he can get it accomplished until I get home to help. [​IMG]
    PS sorry for any misspellings or improper grammar in my postings-I am at work and in a HURRY to get done and get home to the chickens!
     
  7. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    It helps to wear rubber gloves when spraying blu-kote because it stains our skin too.
     
  8. Swiffer Duster Frizzle

    Swiffer Duster Frizzle Out Of The Brooder

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    Alcohol removes the BluKote, it even removed the stains from my Crocs! I'd apply Hot Pick If the hen's skin isn't red, inflammed or broken.
    Also, as winter approaches try coating their backs with petroleum jelly. It creates a moisture barrier that locks out wind and cold, and it prevents chapping.
     
  9. diggergal

    diggergal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I got home from work I caught and inspected the pullets with the bare backs. Could not see any lice/mites. After careful look-over at my pullets I think my RIR's feathers seem a little "rough". I did some more research and concluded it might be lice/mites and I just can't see them. I am still not sure why the lower end of the pecking order pullets were the first affected. Could be once a bare spot the other pullets started picking on her more? It sure seemed to happen sudden or it is just my inexperience and didn't notice the signs until they became obvious.

    I am going to catch and treat all with Sevin Dust. I have always treated their coop with DE and had a dust bath with DE. I felt fairly confident the being a "virgin" coop and site (no prior chickens) and keeping their area clean and treated with DE mites wouldn't be a problem. They are really not exposed to wild birds because they have an enclosed coop and run. The only time they would be exposed to any wild birds is when they free range a couple hours during the evenings. After some research I see that their is a great debate on the effectiveness of DE for preventing/treating for mites and worming. My confidence in DE may have been misplaced. I still will use it for the drying of poo and smell control.

    I am very upset with myself for not noticing any problem sooner. My dh said to spend any more time with the chickens I would to quit my job and move in the coop. He thinks I am an obsessive chicken owner. I just wanted to prevent any problems before they happen which I have failed to do [​IMG] Hopefully I can nip this in the bud. I did not want my chickens to suffer from my inexperience. They are laying some great eggs for me.
     
  10. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    Since they are still laying eggs for you, then they are not too upset, so don't be too hard on yourself. We live and learn (with the help of the BYC forum).
     

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