PIcking? Mating? Molting? What am I dealing with here...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by saraiquimby1, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. saraiquimby1

    saraiquimby1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Many (Not all) of my hens have these patches of no feathers. The pictures are not great but they give you an idea of where the affected areas are. It seems to be on their backs (I think from mating??), under their beaks (only on 2) and on the backs of their heads. I'm a first time chicken mom...I've had them for about a year. Any suggestions and feedback is appreciated.

    Some more details-
    Hens are a year old.

    I have 10 hens, 1 rooster.
    They are in the coop and attached run 24/7 with access to both. (But they don't free range).
    They are on a 16% Protein Layer Crumble and get a cup or two of BOSS every day, along with table scraps and such.
    Buffs, Sex Link, Barred Rock, RIR, EE, and my rooster is a Buff Orpington too.
    I have noticed varying instances of this since about December.

    Thanks!! Let me know suggestions of what to do and how to help them.


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  2. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, it's mating. Those are obviously his favorites. Poor girls. Possible to add more pullets? Or get a gentler rooster?
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Look like mating damage to me. Good thing is, that seems to bother the humans way more than it bothers the hens.

    You can try increasing protein levels in feed to see if that helps feather quality.

    You can evaluate if you really want to keep a rooster.

    You can let things go as they are.

    You can remove the hens with damage. Some hens have more brittle feathers that are prone to breaking no matter what you do.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I agree that's mating wear, my buff Orpington roosters have always been frequent maters. You could separate him for a few days a week to give them a break.
     
  5. saraiquimby1

    saraiquimby1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I really want to keep him. He takes good care of them and he's very good with us (people). I may add a few pullets from the barn to his flock up there and see if it helps things any. Poor girls. They don't seem to mind at all, just like you guys said.
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    The most mating usually gets done during the spring than it tapers off slowly during the year, a few more girls may or may not help, older roosters seem to mate less often. As long as they aren't being cut or bloodied they will be okay, though by the end of the season they will probably be pretty bald and you will be glad when they molt and grow back their feathers.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Some is mating, but the patch under the 'chin' is not....might be picking, which could be behavioral and/or lack of protein.

    Crowding stress is always a possible component too.
    How much space in coop and run(feet by feet)?

    Have you checked closely and thoroughly for external parasites?
    Part the feathers down to the skin....do this at night, well after dark, so you'll see 'night mites' if they are around.

    Also, layer feed is kind of low on the protein front, I'd switch up to a higher protein feed rather than the BOSS.
    Of course the lost feathers will not likely grow back until a molt.
     
  8. saraiquimby1

    saraiquimby1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's not mites. I've chEcked before and like I said it's only a few of them. I would expect all to be somewhat affected if it's mites since I've noticed it for months now. The coop is 8x17 (136 sq feet) and the run is 20X25. So they have tons of room for only 11 of them. I'll try the different feed next time I need some. Free ranging just isn't an option where I live
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Oh, that's plenty of space! So crowding is not the problem.

    Some birds just have brittle feathers too.
    I wonder if the under the chin thing is from reaching thru the fencing...can they do that anywhere in their run?
    My birds do that, but I haven't seen feathers missing from it...I don't think.

    Are the ones with missing chin feathers lower birds on the pecking order...maybe someone else is snacking on their feathers?

    More protein is a good place to start....meal worms, meat scraps, eggs...until you get more feed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I have some birds missing chin feathers too, it's often a neck molt, about a quarter of my birds will have one in the spring.
     

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