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Ok I am at a total loss now

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by citychickx6, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. citychickx6

    citychickx6 Songster

    May 14, 2011
    A few weeks ago my EE shocked me when I saw she was missing her entire muff, all the way around.
    I have treated with sevin in case it was mites or lice. I have checked regularly and retreated even though I have seen no bugs at all.
    During this last few weeks I have seen that my other EE is looking scruffy and missing some feathers on her wings. A few feathers look like they have been stripped of fluff. Those are also on the wings.
    My BO has some feathers that look like they have been trimmed at the shaft about 1/2 inch from the end making an odd V shape. This is toward her rump and could be from my BA.
    NOW today I noticed that my Hamburg is missing neck and head feathers as is my GLW.
    I clean the poop boards every day. I put DE on the boards and a little sevin on the roosts when I clean. Fresh water every day and food available 24/7.
    Egg laying is near normal for them with only a brief slow of 3 days this week only getting 4-5 eggs when the normal is 7-8. Activity and appetite seems normal for all of the birds. Food has been changed to all flock on Sunday since I had noticed my BA eating a feather she stole off the BO.
    Combs and wattles are all red and healthy looking.
    Weights feel about normal for them.
    Legs look good.... well as good as chicken legs can lol.

    Could this be a partial molt at the wrong time of the year?
    Treats are as follows
    For 10 hens:
    On Sunday Oatmeal with craisins in it about 3 cups total
    Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday Scratch about 1 and 1/2 cup
    Wednesday and Saturday is one of the following
    Leftovers of cooked corn, broccoli, steamed rice, peas, cheerios, apples, or banana

    Any thoughts on what in the world I am dealing with?

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It's easy to reduce their protein intake with treats, and I fear that is what has happened here. Also, most feeds don't have animal protein at all (at least what I can buy) and I think that is a problem for chickens who don't have access to a good bug population. So, I'd say they are eating feathers for the protein. If it were me, I'd switch all treats to BOSS and find a way to add in a bit of animal protein, such as a can of canned mackerel, scrambled eggs, meat scraps from the kitchen, etc. Some people do this with cat food but its nutritional balance is not great for chickens and I would not depend on it as a protein supplement.
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers


    BOSS is Black Oil Sunflower Seed. It's 15% protein and the oils help promote feather growth.
  4. fc

    fc In the Brooder

    Sep 24, 2010
    I guess legumes would provide the needed protein. I would have figured chicken feed would provide all the nutritional needs of chickens?
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Think of it this way: they need 100% of their minimum requirements, right? Commercial feed supplies this IF it is the only feed supplied, no treats, nothing else but their commercial feed. And a bug or two.

    If they eat 2 cups twice a day (apiece) that's 4 cups necessary for 100%.
    One day they eat 3 cups of feed and one cup of "treats" low in protein but high in carbohydrates or fat. That's 75% of needs through feed, 25% MAYBE being met by treats, but probably more like 10% of protein or whatever the feed supplies in that other 75%, not THIS one. So that's 85% of what they need...

    Another day they eat 2 cups of commercial feed and 2 cups of treats with only 10% of MDR. That's 50% through feed, but only 10% through the treats, which is 60%.

    See how a "100% nutritionally complete" feed is only nutritionally complete if it is the ONLY nourishment. Treats dilute the day's percentage of MDR achieved, so it's best to limit treats to only 10% of the total food for the day, and then try to make it a higher protein treat.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  6. Mattemma

    Mattemma Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    Get a bag of BOSS.Will last the winter. I add that in the am for them to scratch around for,and then a bit of scratch mix in the afternoon. I had plucking issues last winter and it was either the diet or the fact that they were cooped up.This winter they are often still cooped up,but looking good feather-wise.
  7. chigger bait

    chigger bait Chirping

    Jan 19, 2012
    Jonesborough, Tennessee
    Question... You can use the BOSS still in the hull like you feed to wild birds or does a person need to use the de-hulled ones?

  8. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Songster

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA

    I feed mine in the hull just like you feed your wild birds..My Chickens digest them just fine.
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Plus, BOSS, once they get to liking it (some birds take a couple days to realize BOSS is a nummy!) you can use it as hand-feeding treats. I got a lot of my chickens to eat from my hands by using BOSS. I'd have quality time with the chooks and then toss some more into the coop litter for them to scratch out. Gives 'em something to do throughout the day and reduces boredom when they are cooped up.
  10. citychickx6

    citychickx6 Songster

    May 14, 2011
    Thanks for the replies.
    I was thinking that may be the issue. I will be getting some BOSS and reducing the treats hoping to see some better feathers on them ladies. I know it can take some time for them to regrow.
    LOL they are going to be grumpy girls without their treats. [​IMG]

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