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New Hampshire cushion feathers changed from red to white in last few weeks - molt or critter??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sentinelchicken, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. sentinelchicken

    sentinelchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 10, 2013
    central Florida
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    Actually not sure if these feathers are cushion or tail coverts - hard to decide based on diagram I saw.

    Anyway...Top photo was taken Jan 22, 2016 and the bottom, blurry photo was taken today Feb 27. Lucy is 7 months old and is as friendly as ever. She is one of 5 hens - no rooster - and the only one doing this. The white feathers are rough but she doesn't look like others are pecking her. Will try to get better photo as well as check for mites, etc tomorrow. In the meantime, I appreciate any insight. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Runs With Chickens Premium Member

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    It is hard to see in your photo, are they broken off? Is she possibly getting pooped on while sitting on the roosts. It is strange.
     
  3. sentinelchicken

    sentinelchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    here a few more closeup shots from this morning. The feathers were completely white last week but now are showing her usual red color. They feel rough (new??) but don't appear broken. They look like when one of the older girls molted last year but she wasn't limited to this area on the body.

    They roost side by side, so no way for anyone to be above and pooping on her.

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  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Runs With Chickens Premium Member

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    Those are the down feathers, the actual feathers are pulled or broken off. I think either you have a feather picker or she has lice or mites. In the picture I can see some black specks that I think are mites. I would start by dusting them with a pyrethrin poultry dust, clean the coop and dust all wood cracks like where the roost attach as well as the bottom of the nestboxes before putting down fresh bedding. Otherwise I would also observe them for feather picking to see if someone is pulling them, you might see her itching a lot.
     
  5. sentinelchicken

    sentinelchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    I did observe them this afternoon and saw the boss hen (Shirley) pulling her feathers in that spot. Lucy is the lowest hen and then run her around, but it usually just takes a look or feint. It seems that Shirley is specifically after the feathers and not pecking the skin.
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Runs With Chickens Premium Member

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    Then you best options are to up the protein content of your feed, she may be craving protein, a good all flock or non medicated feed can work with oyster shells on the side. If it's from boredom than more range and things to peck at, I throw all my scraps and lawn clippings, and hay, and clumps of sod to my birds, and give the bottom birds a place to hide, mine sit in a horse trough when they want some peace. Chickens often get bored easily. Hopefully you can get her to quit it before she gets to the skin.

    Another option is to remove the top bird either temporarily or permanently, to rearrange the pecking order.
     
  7. sentinelchicken

    sentinelchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the specific suggestions!!
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Runs With Chickens Premium Member

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    Good luck, hopefully you find something that will work for you.
     

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