PLEASE HELP ME 11/20/09...hens W/bald Butts And Feather Loss>>

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Hambone, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. Hambone

    Hambone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 22, 2009
    Union, KY
    I have 6 laying hens (golden comets). No rooster. I keep them in their tractor 24/7. You can see the tractor and pics of them as pullets on my page. I went out to the tractor today and notice they are looking pretty ruff. I had been thinking they were all molting until today I noticed the bald butts. They are loosing feathers like crazy. 3 of them have bald butts but they all look pretty bad off. They don't look like they are going to make it much longer if I don't find a solution. There might be some blood on their butts I can not tell because they are dirty. I'm not sure what to do. They wont let me pick them up. Help. I had been feeding just layer but I switched and now feed them layer crumbles mixed with scratch grains. I dumped a bunch on DE in their coop today just in case its mites. From what I have read bald butts equal one of the following mites, over crowding, bordom, lack of food or a dominant bird. What do you think I should do. Also egg production has slowed. If they are just molting what can I do to get them protein asap. I'm really worried about my flock and the nights are getting colder.


    I can take pictures tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2009
  2. Jolyn

    Jolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2008
    Northern California
    I am having similar issues!! I hope someone responds to this post for you!!!
     
  3. Hambone

    Hambone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 22, 2009
    Union, KY
    yea me too.
     
  4. Shiningfeather

    Shiningfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 7, 2009
    hill country texas
    Im not sure what it is but hope this helps. [​IMG]
     
  5. ThePamperedPullet

    ThePamperedPullet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Are you sure they are not just molting? We have a couple of girls that went nearly bald but it all started with thier butts. Took them a while but they are now starting to feather back in.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a pic of our worst one and she has just about completely feathered back out.
    It is that time of year.
     
  6. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    If it's molting the scratch grain will do more harm than good. They need more protien for feather growth and the scratch taste good, but only has around 8% protien. I switched mine from layer (16%) to a 22% gamebird crumble and give oyster shell free choice for the girls that are still laying and need the extra calcium. Some people also give cat food to them for an extra protien boost. I have two that look pre-plucked right now from molting that might be all that is going on with your girls too.
     
  7. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    Yep what Kittymomma said--substitute sunflower seeds, low salt fish, small amounts or cat food or cottage cheese or some other high protein treat for the scratch. If there is no pecking going on they will start to look much better in about a week, with little quills. The skin might turn reddish, that is to be expected.
     
  8. Barrett Farm

    Barrett Farm Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 8, 2009
    Silicon Valley
    The photo looks like new feathers are growing in. Perhaps your birds are "blowing their coats".

    If your pen is too small, chickens will peck, break, tear and pull feathers. That gets ugly and it adds more stress to the small quarters. The chicken will be bald and you won't see the feathers/quills growing in.

    If you see lots of loose feathers blowing around, you are experiencing a molt. Sometimes feathers are right behind the blow, sometimes the feathers need help to grow in faster. Add a supplement of protein to help the feathers grow in faster.

    I toss dog food and higher in protein a good addition or supplement is cat food. If your birds are young and aren't excited by the food, crush the food and place in the feeders. Check the protein label to see what you are adding. Be careful of fish and strong flavors. They can carry over into your eggs, if the chickens are active layers.

    If you are concerned the chickens will be too cold, cover the open sides of your tractor at night and clamp a regular lamp or heat lamp safely inside their roosting area. No fluorescent lamps because they won't get warm enough to add heat.

    Give them time and you should see feathers soon.

    In the photo of the bird, the quills look like the covers have not been broken off. When my hens preen they loosen the cover to open the feather so the feather becomes effective. See if you can loosen the cover by pressing the cover between your thumb and fingers. Some areas are harder than others to reach when you are a bird. My birds love the attention and the help.
     
  9. Hambone

    Hambone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 22, 2009
    Union, KY
    I dusted all my birds and their coop & run with DT today. I also bought some flock raiser 20% protein from TSC. I am going to feed them that for a while and see what happens. They also have oyster shell availiable free choice next to their food. While I was watching them I did notice one of my birds (the one with the least amount of feather loss) going around and pecking the feathers of the other birds. If the problem is feather plucking will the problem be solved if I get rid of that bird. They all have bald spots on their back sides. One worse than all the others. I also hung a head of cabage in the run hoping this will fix bordom problems if that is the case. One of my birds has stoped laying all together. Any opinions welcome. I'm not sure what else to do but wait.
     
  10. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    Feather pecking can be from lack of protien, lack of space, and to a lesser degree from boredom. They often slow down or even completly stop laying when they molt or if their protien needs aren't being met. If that is what is going on the higher protien feed and supplements should take care of it. I read that you have 6 hens that live in the tractor, but I didn't see how big it is. How much space do they have inside and out? That will give us a better idea about the problems possibley being from overcrowding. Also, how old are they and how long have you had them? A major molt is very common around 18 months old and some pullets have a mini-molt around 9-11 months.
     

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