Not an emergency, need advice on feather picking/pale comb *pictures*

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by iheartMT, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. iheartMT

    iheartMT Out Of The Brooder

    21
    3
    24
    Dec 4, 2013
    Montana
    I'll try to keep this brief. My two Easter Eggers lost all their beard feathers, the first one about a month ago and the second about two weeks ago. I checked for mites and found nothing. They haven't lost any more feathers and seem healthy otherwise. I suspected feather picking for several reasons (stress due to a new hen in the flock, winter boredom, lower protein feed and I caught one pecking feathers from the first EE). I took steps to address it (higher protein feed, flock block, new run features). Yesterday I noticed one of the others (a Cuckoo Marans) has lost feathers on her head. She seems fine otherwise, but does have a pale comb. I checked last night for mites and didn't see any (haven't been able to catch her to check her over). I did see the other Cuckoo Marans (the original feather picker) pecking a few times at her head.

    I should mention I don't suspect molting because this is their first winter. (They are 9 months old)

    So, my questions are: should I treat for mites anyway? I figured if I had mites there would be evidence on the EE beards. Or should I chalk it up to feather picking? I don't want to cull the accused since she's a good layer and has a companion in the flock (her victim). Or could this be overzealous grooming?

    Thanks for your help!

    Below: the accused feather picker on left and her victim on the right. (Note: she was born with the bald spot)

    [​IMG]

    Ranger, the first EE to lose her beard.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  2. TOP KNOT

    TOP KNOT Chillin' With My Peeps

    703
    55
    138
    Mar 10, 2013
    SHERIDAN IL
    Sound to me they are moulting. Mine are right now too. I feed feather fixer by Nutrena. It helps them through their moult. Boosts up their protein to get them feathered out and back laying. It also has ingredients that rid mites. It is freezing out and I get 9 to 14 eggs per day. They will loose head feathers first when they start to moult. My girls looked hideous with their pin feather heads! They did not moult all at the same time. The ones that were broody late in the fall and hatched out were the first to moult, the rest followed as the winter progressed. I have 2 americaunas, a dominique, and a partridge rock going through their moult right now. This is also their first winter. I do have one americauna hen that always has a funcky neck/throat area?.. I would not worry, boost their protein to help regrow those feathers. Try to keep a spot for them to dust bath. Mine still do in this cold weather, the sun warms the coop run through the plastic wrap and they dig holes and fluff up in dirt!
     
  3. AlanW

    AlanW Out Of The Brooder

    25
    3
    24
    Nov 21, 2013
    Yes, be advised that they CAN molt on their first winter. Apparently they don't read the Internet.
     
  4. iheartMT

    iheartMT Out Of The Brooder

    21
    3
    24
    Dec 4, 2013
    Montana
    Maybe she is starting to molt since I noticed she seems to be losing leg feathers too. Hopefully it won't get too cold if she does molt. My sister lost an old hen to a mid-winter molt. I feed a 20% protein layer feed; is that enough or should I get an additional source of protein?

    I have heard that EE commonly lose beard feathers, but not as badly after their first winter.

    They have a great dust area under a big spruce tree in the run, the ground never freezes and the dirt is perfect for dusting, especially when the sun comes out.

    Thanks for your thoughts!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by