Need Help - Hens losing feathers on front of neck

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by heatherc23, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. heatherc23

    heatherc23 New Egg

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    Mar 30, 2009
    Help - our gilrs are losing feathers on their necks. We have 10 hens. 2 Buffs, 2 Silver Lace, 2 Rhodies, 2 Araucanas, and 2 Leghorns. They range in age from 1.5 years down to 8 months. They seem to be a really nice group as far as everyong gets along very well. The coup we built them far exceeds what would have been necessary to have happy healthy birds. They have a very large completely inside section that includes a nesting area with 7 nesting boxes and large perching area, the next inside area contains a large open area with the food and water. Then they have 24/7 access to a very large outside shelter completely protected from the elements but very well ventilated. This area is very large with lots of dirt for dusting, digging and more perching. We use clean untreated fir shavings inside and straw in the nesting boxes. I clean out the coup weekly replacing the shavings and straw. Our girls are fed organic layer pellet, organic cracked corn (occassionally), free choice grit and oyster shell as well as several frolics a week around our pasture so they can graze on fresh grass, dig in the dirt, etc. We also give them lots of fresh (never spoiled) produce as well as occassional pasta. They clean and fill their waterers daily. They are never fed egg or any meat of any kind. Up until about two months ago they also received a small amount of bread daily. We also stay away from salty crackers and processed chips. When our Silver Lace girls were nearly one year olds, they both started to lose the feathers in their neck area right above their chests but nowhere else. We are lucky that our feed store has a very experencied chicken lady so we sought her advice. She told us to place them over paper, ruffle their feathers and look for tiny mites. We did this and found no evidence of mites, but treated them anyway with an organic/safe natural treatment. As time went on, one of our Rhodies also lost some feathers in that area. All 3 birds have a bare spot in the same spot. I then sought advice from the feed store again. We rechecked for evidence of mites and found none. She then suggested that in some cases chickens will have mineral deficiencies. She suggested a flock block. She told us not to give it to them free choice as they would choose this wonderful treat over their regular food. Instead, she instructed us to give them chunks of this block every couple of days over a two week period of time. This would help clear up the condition. Well another month later, the birds are no better and she is out of advice. It isn't getting worse, no other birds have it, it doesn't appear red, irritated, have a rash, etc. Just all of the feathers are gone in a very small area. If it truly were mites and somehow we just don't see them, I would assume it would get worse, they would start losing feathers in areas other than just their necks and other birds would be affected. Also, we work from home and feed our horses 3 times a day. We never see or hear any issues with the girls fighting. There is enough room that everyone has their own spot to sleep at night. The like breeds seem to pair up and sleep in the same place within the coup every night, no exceptions. Any advice is greatly appreciated. I encourage you to email me direct at [email protected]. Thanks, Heather
     
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    After all that, I would suspect you have a feather picker.

    I HAD one hen that loved to pick out the beards of my EEs and Ameraucanas. Feathers grew back once she was rehomed. I saw her do it quite by accident. for me at least, problems solved.
     

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