Pullet WAS getting picked on/HAD missing feathers Thanks silkiechicken

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Pullet Pimp, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. Pullet Pimp

    Pullet Pimp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I noticed tonight that my EE pullet, Sara, has missing feathers in a spot about the size of a golf ball at the base of her tail between the wings. There is no scabbing to speak of and it doesn't appear painful to her. I have no Roo in with them so it is not a loss due to mating and I have seen a couple NHR, RIR, and SLW pick on her in that spot and eat the feathers, so I am not dealing with just one bully. She is toward the bottom of the pecking order and all have been raised together since day old chicks.

    There is plenty of hiding spots in the coop for her to get away and plenty of roosting space in different areas of the coop. The coop allows for about 7 sq ft per bird and they normally have access to their run daily, but ice and mud have not allowed them out for a few days until today. I have been giving them some scratch in the bedding and have been hanging some vegetables on a rope in the coop to occupy their time while they have been kept inside. They were out all day today though. I usually check them over every night and did not notice any feather loss last night. They are all on Purina layer and are about 6 months old and have been laying for about 3 weeks now.

    First thing I did was come in the house and read past BYC posts and found several different causes for this and as many treatments to stop it. I got to thinking about the lack protein I read about and begin to suspect maybe this could be the cause. I haven't been giving them any other food or treats except theyr layer feed and small amount of scratch in the run and the vegetables. I did catch a couple of them eating the contents of a broken egg in the coop recently so that is what got me thinking it might be something along those lines.

    Here is what I have done so far: I inspected Sara for any other signs of mites, worms, illness or injury and found none. I picked up some Blu-Kote, pine tar, and kitten food. I brought Sara into the house and sprayed the area of Blu-Kote on the bare spot. I waited for that to dry and put a thin coat of the pine tar on the spot. I then sprinkled a small amount of the kitten food (40% protein) in the coop which was quickly devoured by all. While everyone was busy eating the kitten food I put Sara back in the coop.

    I sat back and watched the girls and after the kitten food was gone the violators came over and inspected the bald spot on Sara and they looked at the area closely but no one pecked at her. The Blu-Kote and Pine tar made the bald area match her feather color very closely.

    Have I covered what I can do for now or is there something that I am missing? Could there be some other reason for the loss or picking?

    Not sure what else to do...... [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Sounds like you've got it covered!

    The start of a moult can also prompt picking too, but looks as if you are on the ball!
     
  3. Pullet Pimp

    Pullet Pimp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the quick reply silkiechicken I have notice you are a go to person for alot of people, and I respect your knowledge. The start of a moult can cause picking also huh? Interesting, I was unaware of that little factoid. Wonder why that is?

    Come to think of it I haven't picked up a loose feather in the coop in quite some time. I usually get a few here and there. They must be eating those too.

    If it is not a moult how long until she will grow new feathers there? And will they grow back through the pine tar?
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Thank you.

    Moult can be 3-6 weeks or longer. Depends on bird. Some drop a few here and there, some look like a feather pillow exploded and turn into walking pin cuishons. If they moult, it can prompt picking for various reasons. Need of raw feather making materials such as protein and methoinine, and the enticement of pin feathers which are blood filled. Should have no problem growing out under pine tar or even duct tape!

    If you do find pin feathers growing out, and do think it is moult, could very well be something else we can't figure out from the chicken's brains, extra protein and black oil sunflower seeds are often reccomended.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Pullet Pimp

    Pullet Pimp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I noticed that there are many new feathers growing in and the picking seemed to stop. Not sure if it was the pine tar or the boost of protein that was offered, or both. Just glad it seems to be over and normalcy can resume.

    Thanks again silkiechicken

    On a side note: when I applied the Blu-Kote tonight I again ended up with purple fingers (gonna get made fun of at work tomorrow, again) and got overspray on the bathroom sink top [​IMG] . I knew I was a dead man if wifey found out. In my frantic panic to hide the evidence I tried everything to remove it. I thought that those Mr. Clean "Magic" erasers would do the trick but they must have lost their magic cause it didn't do a $*@#& thing. In my last ditch effort before confessing another stupid husband thing to the reaper I tried toothpaste (Aim to be exact) and low and behold it came right off with almost no scrubbing needed. It even took most of it off my hands when I the toothpaste and added salt as an abrasive to scrub them. Just thought I'd put that out there for any other clumsy bathroom doctors.
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    No problem!

    Good thing all is going well on the pin feather front!

    I know about blue kote... Had a odd freckled face for a good week after a bird shake down.... Maybe a tube of aim needs to be in with the blukote. LOL
     
  7. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pullet Pimp - How are the chickens doing?

    I am having the beginning of the same problem. And right before I'm leaving for a vacation - timing couldn't be WORSE! My girls have 12 ft. of space inside and another 12 ft outside, so they aren't crowded; they get BOSS twice a day; only thing I can think of is boredom since they don't really like going out in the snow.....

    Can you share some advice? I'm heading out first thing tomorrow morning for Blu Kote but have NO idea where to buy pine tar. I have kitten food. Someone else on the board mentioned bearing grease.... my DH is a mechanic, so I thought this would be a little easier to get my hands on.... suggestions are so appreciated!! I'm at my wits end!
     
  8. chickeepoo

    chickeepoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The mention of you using "Blu-Kote" caught my eye- I just threw away 7 eggs because I used the blu-kote on my hen's wounds, and I thought it was not safe to eat the eggs for a couple of weeksÂ… I used it last week a couple of days, and Sunday when she got torn up on her tail, but it's like a natural helmet at this point, and I stopped putting it on her.

    Silkie Chicken, Pullet Pimp, anyone, what is your experience with this product?

    *On the feather picking and carnivorous appetites of the hens- it came to my attention that my girls are not pure RIR but Production Reds, with a higher inclination toward cannibalismÂ… yeechh, not what I wanted to hear, but maybe that helps explain some of these attacks.
     
  9. Pullet Pimp

    Pullet Pimp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would reconsider buying the Blu-Kote. I've since given mine to my neighbor for his horses. After I bought mine and applied it once or twice I was told by several people on here not to use it if I plan on eating her eggs. It says right on the bottle not to use it for food producing animals (I never read it until then since so many people here use it). Several of us have tried to get an answer from the company if it would be safe to use for chickens and eat the eggs, but the answer I got was that they have not done any studies on the effects it has to chickens (such a non answer, even no would have been better). If I needed to do something like that again I would just treat any open wounds with Betadine after separating them from the flock. I also thought about using a dark food coloring to dye their backs to make it less attractive to the other hens which would be safer than the chemicals in Blu-Kote, but that's just my opinion.

    As for the girls they are great now. I ended up bringing in all three of the EE's into the house. I had them in a hospital pen in my basement and used the pine tar a couple times before I brought them in so the others could get a taste of it. I don't know if it worked or not because after I brought them in I quit using it since they were away from the more aggressive breeds. I upped the amount of protein and she began to regrow feathers pretty quickly. She is still a bit bald but much improved. I bought some saddles from Moodene and they are now back inside the coop with the rest of the ladies. This is the second day back in with them and so far so good everyone is getting along. The others have been getting more protein also and I haven't noticed any feather picking now. I am even finding a stray feather laying on the coop floor where as before I hadn't seen one in quite some time. I think they were eating them for the protein. I have also been more creative on giving them something to do. We also haven't had such severe weather and they have been able to go outside as long as the temps were above 0 degrees F.

    Hope this helps and hope you get your situation figured out. How many chickens do you have in the 12 sq ft. Oh, or were you saying they have 12 sq ft PER CHICKEN? If so it may also be a diet issue. I was just reading today an article said that lack of calcium could also create feather picking as well as too bright of light. I'm looking into the Avia Charge 2000 which claims to fulfill all the mineral requirements and cure feather picking.

    Sorry so long...... I'll shut up now [​IMG]
     
  10. Pullet Pimp

    Pullet Pimp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    chickeepoo That is why I posted the warning of the Blu-Kote on your thread to warn you of what I had learned since this thread. I got rid of mine and won't use it again. I don't want to call anyone out by name but a very knowledgeable source on here seemed to think if you treat with Blu-Kote you shouldn't ever eat the eggs again. I used it only twice on my hen and just now am eating her eggs again.

    My RIR are hatchery quality hens also but they seem to leave everyone alone now. When I was having the problems it wasn't just the RIR's but also the SLW and the NHR picking so I don't think it is a trait of the quality of bird but something lacking in the diet. They get a lot more protein now and the problem stopped for me. They also get to go outside more now too so that could be part of the solution also.

    I wish I could give you more advise but I am still learning to treat this problem myself. So far so good with what I have changed for my situation [​IMG] .

    I'm willing to give suggestions to try if you keep us updated. Good luck.
     

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