Not laying eggs, tail missing, and blood...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Iamgrateful, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. Iamgrateful

    Iamgrateful Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok so, my flock of 6 chickens has been doing great. Since the weather has turned cold here in Michigan, some of the chickens have stopped laying eggs (which I hear is normal). This morning when I went to feed and water them, I noticed that one of the hens has some blood near her rear-end feathers...looked like she may have been pecked. Then I noticed another chicken's whole tail feathers are totally missing! Some of the others are looking a little bit shabby as well. My Isa Brown has a bare spot on her neck...no feathers at all. Quite a few feathers laying around the coop and pen. Should I be worried or is this normal 'moulting'?
     
  2. ChickNhood

    ChickNhood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ive never experienced a molt my self but the blood comcerns me... Other than that id say nornal molt...

    Side note: I love ,y isa brown..she layed 47 day streight
     
  3. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

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    If this is a moult - that is natural, however, to see blood and one with no rear end feathers seems to indicate there is a problem... do yours free range ? If not... they need some distraction from being enclosed... try hanging some cabbage leaves to attract interest and anything else to stop this from happening... sad to relate but if one or any are being victimised it may end up in the death of those victims - it may be an idea to remove any debilitated chickens until they are in full health again and able to fend for themselves - it is also a good idea to observe the behaviour of the remaining chickens - if there is or are any that are aggressive best cull them.

    Wishing you good luck!

    Suzie
     
  4. HiddenChicken

    HiddenChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    If they are pecking each other, use "pinless peepers" on your chickens! I have them on my chickens & they work magic! No more pecking! Google them. It will save your birds if it's a pecking problem!;)
     
  5. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    It sounds like a combination of molting and picking at the emerging blood feathers. I noticed the same thing starting here and considering their age, lack of crowding, and no such behavior previously, I thought there must be a reason they would suddenly start. After doing a bit of reading, I switched their feed to a higher protein content and made sure it had animal protein in it, not just soy. Like magic, the picking stopped and the feathers are growing in beautifully.
     
  6. Iamgrateful

    Iamgrateful Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all for the replies. I have isolated the hen who is the worst off with tail missing. They are not crowded and only 6 of them together. Not sure why they would all of the sudden start this pecking. I do let them free-range here and there but they normally are in a large pen with a large coop attached. The pinless peepers are a good idea as well if I cannot get them to cut it out!

    I did recently switch their food, but I thought the food I switched too was a better feed....hmmmmm

    debid - What feed are you using that is working well? I am currently feeding Kent.
     
  7. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    It's a local co-op feed, I'm afraid, so you may not have it available. But, it's 21% protein layer feed and the ingredients label lists animal protein. They get some scratch, too. I was using their 16% with animal protein and then a few months back, the bag suddenly changed and with that change, the feed formula also changed. I didn't realize at first what had happened but I did notice the change in smell and the pellets looked different. It worked OK until the rooster-bared Wellie started getting pins in the middle of that skin patch. Now that they're all starting to molt, I'm glad to have the high octane feed because they seem to molt in big patches.

    I know that I've read about someone on these boards adding koi pellets (30-some % protein) to their feed to up the total protein and add animal protein to the diet.
     
  8. HiddenChicken

    HiddenChicken Chillin' With My Peeps


    You can also switch to game bird feed for a month or two to up the protein...&/or cut your normal feed with game bird. ;)
     
  9. Iamgrateful

    Iamgrateful Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much for the replies! I think the layer feed I am feeding is 16%. Is there any reason why a higher protein % would be bad for them?

    The Koi pellets are an interesting idea, as I feed those to my ducks - they LOVE them! The Wild Game feed is a good idea as well.

    So is the bottom line that they need more protein when they are molting?
     
  10. Smoochie

    Smoochie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would watch your little flock very carefully as once one gets a habit of picking feathers and eating them it is a hard habit to break. Soon they will all be doing it. Feather picking is often pre-cannibalistic behaviour. Sprinkle some cat food on the ground and dim the lights. Apply no pick solution on all the hens that you can get at your local livestock store. Isolate any chickens with open wounds. As others recommended up the protein in the food.
     

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