Polish crested rooster? More like Polish crusted... :-(

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by psychchick, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. psychchick

    psychchick New Egg

    Jan 18, 2014
    We've been in the chicken game for a little under a year now. We have a flock of various breeds, including a Polish crested rooster. A few months after getting the flock we noticed him losing feathers at the back of his crown, but really dismissed it as normal "wear and tear" of a flock -- thinking that maybe even the hens were getting a little aggressive with him.

    As we entered the fall/winter, I admit the feathers seemed even more scarce on the back of his crown -- kind of making it look like he had a surfer haircut on the front or (as we affectionately call him after the great rock musician) Steven Tyler.

    Now, unfortunately with the atypically cold weather, his poor head has really taken a beating. We fear that it has gotten frostbitten like his comb/wattle. (picture below, sorry it's a little fuzzy) We really want to get to the heart of what is causing this and help prevent additional damage.

    Appreciate any insight you may have. Some theories we've entertained:
    - some type of lice or parasite?
    - pecking from aggressive hens?
    - or is this normal from the Polish crested breed?


    Thanks for your help!
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Welcome to BYC. I can only guess what is wrong with your Polish rooster, but after my 2 Polish hens were stripped of their head feathers several times each in their 2 1/2 years, I would guess that the feathers have been picked by your other chickens. The only way to help him is check him for lice and mites all over, and treat him if he has any, and then put him in his own pen for 2-3 weeks. He will eventually grow them back in, but you need to clean up his head, and put some Neosporin ointment on him daily for about a week. His scab will probably fall off in a week or two. After his feathers start growing back in, spray some BluKote on his head, and keep him put up untill the feathers start to grow in. They may leave him alone when they are grown back in, but you need to make sure that everyone gets plenty of protein, has plenty of room, and has some interesting things to climb on and explore. 20% Flock Raiser is good for the extra protein, and just add some crushed oyster shell for calcium for the hens. You could also give 24 % gamebird feed as a treat, while keeping them on layer feed.
  3. farmtotable

    farmtotable Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    My Coop
    Great ideas above from Eggcessive! I've had polish crested roosters for years, and have ALWAYS had this same problem with them. For some reason, their beautiful feathers are irresistible to other chickens. Our flock free ranges over 1 1/2 acres, so they live a completely stress-free existence, and yet the poor Polish roosters end up with their head feathers plucked. I think the only thing you can do is either keep an entire flock of Polish and nothing but Polish, or keep your Polish chickens segregated. At any rate, until the feathers grow back in completely, there's nothing you can do to prevent them from getting plucked out again except for possibly putting little hats on them. (My husband and I tried this, and our efforts were not appreciated by the roosters). Unfortunately the pin feathers are quite rich in blood, and once a hen figures this out, they'll keep on plucking.
  4. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2013
    Often you will find that birds such as polish,silkies,etc do get "picked" on as they look different from the norm.
  5. girlyhurley

    girlyhurley Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 2, 2014
    I saw this post today and wondered can Poultry lice do this to a polish crested's head?
    None of the other chickens have lice, I checked them all, Only this guy. He is now quarantined and been fully dusted with DE. However, could this be why he is losing his feathers or do you think it is the other hens and rooster as well? I saw one of my hens peck him, but now I wonder if maybe she was just eating some of the lice she saw on him.

  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    That could be lice eggs or perhaps it could be favus a fungal infection. Sevin dust and permethrin are good for lice--treat every 10 days until gone, plus clean out your coop. For favus, miconazole cream or lotrimin is the treatment applied daily. I would separate her so that her feathers are not plucked until they can grow in. Here are two good links to read about lice and mites: http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8162.pdf

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by