pullet pulling her own feathers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chicknmania, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    We've had Bitsy the BR Bantam since last November. she started losing feathers on her back after her sister died. They were close and always ran together. I thought maybe the roos had rubbed her back raw, she was avoiding them. So I put her in a pen, this past Saturday, so that her feathers could grow back out. This usually works, we had another hen that was this way and once her feathers grew out again of course she had protection and she was fine with it. Anyway, Bitsy's feathers started to grow back, she's been eating and drinking fine, and laying. But today she pulled out all her newly grown feathers and made a bigger bare patch on her back and it's irritated.. I'm wondering if it's a nervous habit, she hasn't been able to run with her roo and her friends, and she's by herself in a tractor during the day. At night she's in a pen in the barn, she can hear and see the others, but she's separated from them. Or do the new feathers itch when the come in, or could it be from something like lice?

    I just dewormed her a few days ago, so I'm reluctant to use Ivermec. I don't see any evidence of lice or mites on her, but they may be there, of course.

    Should I try treating her with Ivermec even though I just dewormed her? Try a hen apron so she can't pull the feathers? Or is there something I should use to soothe the bald spot? she also has a dust bath available to her, and i could try just putting some insectrin or ash in the bath to kill possible lice/ mites? Or could this be totally a nervous habit? Shes a very nervous little hen.
     
  2. chippysmom327

    chippysmom327 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd suggest to not reach for the medicine bottle right away, and put a saddle on her for a few weeks. Try increasing the protein in her diet, because feathers are made of about 75% protein. You can let her back out with her flockmates.
     
  3. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    If I let her back out with the flock before her feathers grow back, she will go back to doing what she was doing when we caught her. She avoids the cockerels, stays with the alpha roo and his hens during the day, and then at night she refuses to go back to the barn to roost, because that's where the cockerels are that are bothering her. So she roosts outside. This is not a good plan for her. We had this happen before with another hen, and kept her confined til her feathers grew out, and then she was fine with the flock again. also it's easier to keep her on a high protein diet if she's confined, and she's already been on that.(the high protein diet)

    My question was, why is she pulling her own feathers, and is there anything to use to soothe her skin, if, in fact, it itches.

    I will look for a hen apron though I worry about her getting hung up in those.
     
  4. chippysmom327

    chippysmom327 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can make a hen apron. There's a free template somewhere around here.

    Maybe remove the cockerels that are making her nervous. Are they agressive to the other hens? The diet thing sounds good.

    Do you have an herb garden? I'll be back with some herbs that can help her.
     
  5. chippysmom327

    chippysmom327 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  6. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    Thank you! Maybe i'll try that, we have lots of plantain around. She's doing better. I think it was just a nervous thing. I just hope she'll mingle ok with the flock again when her feathers finally grow back out.
     
  7. chippysmom327

    chippysmom327 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hope so! I always give the herbal (free) remedy a shot before purchasing medicine, and it usually works. Sorry for not understanding your question and giving a wrong answer the first time.
     
  8. chippysmom327

    chippysmom327 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How's Bitsy doing? I had an itchy mosquito bite that I made plantain tea for and I thought of her.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  9. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    Thanks for asking, she's doing ok. Feathers are slowly growing in. I read they can pull the new blood feathers just because they taste good. [​IMG]
    She hasn't pulled any lately but I know she would like to go back out with the flock. Seriously thinking of getting her a saddle but I'm worried she might get hung up somewhere with it, or that I won't be able to easily catch her again when I want to take it off. I'm sure it would give her confidence around the cockerels though, if she had one on.
     
  10. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd like to try the plaintain salve but I just never have any time lately.
     

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