Odd feather loss

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Alaskan, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    My chickens are between 8 and 9 weeks old. They are EEs and Light Brahmas.

    Around 4 to 6 weeks or age (when I had my baby by emergency c-section) they were in too small of an area and did some feather plucking of the tail and shoulder area.

    I have been watching them very closely the last 2 to 3 weeks and I truly do not think that there is any more plucking. There are little feathers coming in on the shoulders. I can't tell on the tails since there is still so much fluff on the tails it hides any tiny feathers that might be there.

    Today when my son let them all out, his favorite chicken Blade, a Brahma, jumped down from the higher perch (maybe 3 feet up) and two longer feathers fell out. My son also found one longer feather from one of the EEs.

    [​IMG] Whats up?

  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Forgot to add, they were started on Medicated chick starter.

    they now have access to a run which still has grass in it, and we toss in weeds too.

    They are now on a chick grower, though I also added some layer pellets in with the grower. I know that it is too early to feed layer, but since FOUR bags were bought by mistake, I thought it would be OK if I fed it 1/2 and 1/2 with the grower.

    There are 15 chickens and 12 ducks in the 8x8 coop as well as a large run, maybe 20 by 30.

    (PLEASE don't flame me! I know that is too many, but the Brahmas are straight run so all but one rooster will be eaten as soon as they are big enough, and I am hoping to add another 8x8 coop/covered run onto the original 8x8 coop in the next month as well as more than double the run area. Also the ducks aren't full grown yet either, so don't yet take up too much space.)

    Only other thing, the coop has windows (haven't set up vents yet) and so it does make a draft over the perches. I know drafts are bad, but I though it would be good or at least OK right now in the summer. But we do NOT get hot here. We are mostly in the 50s. They all seem happy though, don't look cold.

    I have been using old hay for bedding and everything was cleaned out and fresh put in on Monday.
  3. beakkeeper

    beakkeeper Songster

    Jul 20, 2008
    Kinda sounds like mites, but I'm really no expert. Best of luck to you![​IMG]
  4. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    I'd think mites also. Grab one flip it upside down and check around the vent near the base of the feathers. look for anything that moves or really small white bumps clinging to the feather base.
    With ducks sharing a coop you have to really keep it clean and dry. Mites thrive in wet bedding.

  5. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I have looked closely at the fallen out feathers...no bugs on them

    I guess I will go grab a chicken today.

    Where do mites come from though??????????

    Maybe the wild birds that fly through the run?

    [​IMG] *ponder*

  6. McChix

    McChix In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2007
    Hi, Alaskan.

    A year ago my chickens were about the same age of yours - well, they were 11 weeks - and went through what I understood to be a juvenile molt - all their long tail feathers and some long wing feathers fell off and new ones grew. They also lost significant amounts of fluffy feathers - I know 'cause I picked all the clean ones up to make a feather pillow/art projects!
  7. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Thanks McChix!

    Of course, I think mine aren't quite old enough for that.....

    I just checked one of the chickens and her skin looks perfect. I poked around under her feathers for at least a full minute and didn't see anything crawling around, or any redness.

    The skin looked very healthy.

  8. coffeelady3

    coffeelady3 Froths Milk for Hard Cash

    Jun 26, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    I'm in the same boat. I've got 2 11 wk old girls, and feathers everywhere. Add that to the parrot and the pigeon who are also molting, and I'm being overrun with feathers! Hopefully it won't last too much longer.
  9. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    Mar 3, 2008
    I would just sit back and watch your "chick-o-vision" for a little while from a distance... it is possible that the ducks are trying to have their way with the chickens. They can grab a LOT more feathers in their bills than a roo can.
    Especially if you don't see anything crawling on them. [​IMG] That's always a plus!

  10. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I have never seen the ducks do anything with the chickens...the ducks flock together and ignore the chickens completely.

    The first time that we saw some feathers fall out was when a chicken flew from an upper perch (only 3 feet up) down to the ground.

    Could it just be an early molt? Perhaps early because I opened the window which causes some draft / breeze over half of the perches?

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