Plucking feathers and bare bottoms - can't figure out the problem

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by NCangler, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. NCangler

    NCangler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 21, 2012
    Hi all. We started with four Brahma Bantam chickens almost two years ago and they are doing great. Last spring (2013) we added (2) New Hampshire Reds, (2) Buff Orpingtons and (2) Plymouth Rock Barr pullets. I was able to successfully integrate them with the Brahma Bantams. But in November I noticed that the New Hampshire Reds were losing feathers from their backs. I thought it must be a dominance issue but I couldn't determine which hen was causing the issue. Within a few weeks one of the Plymouth Rock and one of the Buff Orpington's were also losing feathers. I did a search here and found that it could be a number of possibilities.

    Pecking order dominance, lack of protein, mite infestation, boredom, cannibalism, etc. I tried several things but so far with no success. I added black sunflower seeds to the run for additional protein. I used blukote to try to get them to stop pecking and pulling feathers. I checked the birds for mites but have never seen any evidence of them. I used Durvet D-Rooster Booster Pick-no-more and Manna Pro Poultry protector along with Hen saver aprons. I cleaned the coop extensively but again, no signs of mites. I believe I have enough space in the coop and run that I built (see attached photos) but the only answer I can come up with is boredom. I've been letting all (10) hens out of the coop and into the yard as much as possible but we have foxes, hawks, owls, etc. in our area so I hate to let them out when I can't watch them. The weird thing is that only four hens are affected. The original (4) Brahma Bantams along with (1) Buff Orpington and (1) Plymouth Rock have no feather loss.

    As you can see from the attached photos I took of (2) of the hens affected, they look awful! They are laying fine so I hate to dispose of them, but I hate seeing them this way. Does anyone have any suggestion on what I might try next? Thanks for any input!

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    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
  2. NextGeneration

    NextGeneration Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 23, 2014
    the U.S.
  3. NextGeneration

    NextGeneration Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 23, 2014
    the U.S.
    It could be from a protein intake change. Do you know what the new chickens were fed before you got them?
     
  4. NCangler

    NCangler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 21, 2012
    We bought them as chicks so I don't think so.
     
  5. NCangler

    NCangler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 21, 2012
    No I don't think so. All ten hens eat the same food and only four of them have this problem. I have separated out the two larger birds that are not affected just to make sure that they are being too aggressive with the four that have this condition. Our original four Brahma Bantams are unaffected and I doubt that they are being aggressive towards the larger birds, although they do still rule the roost! The were the first ones there and even though they are half the size of the younger, larger birds, they are unfazed by them.

    I did find it interesting in the article you cited that they suggest this:
    Quote:
     

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