Red skin and missing feathers on underbelly and around vent! HELP!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by venymae, May 25, 2016.

  1. venymae

    venymae Prairie Wind

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    My BFF's chickens are missing their feathers from around their keel bone, down to their underbelly. They also are missing feathers around their vents. The skin is very red and raw looking where there are no feathers. What is happening?
     
  2. ShotGunCowgirl

    ShotGunCowgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    1 chicken or the whole flock? Could be as simple as a broody hen or mottling.. Could be some parasite. Would need more information. Are they acting normal eating drinking ect?
     
  3. venymae

    venymae Prairie Wind

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    Not broody, they lay daily and don't linger on the nests. It's mostly two hens that we've noticed. There are no roosters. Their skin is RAW red. Doesn't seem like any molting I've seen before. Around the vent and on their underside. The feathers are gone and the skin is a painful looking red. Eating and drinking normal. Lots of dustbathing like normal.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2016
  4. ShotGunCowgirl

    ShotGunCowgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    First thought would be lice or mites???
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. silky ma

    silky ma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Check for mites and lice if found gently spray them with cedar oil, and do the coop also. For the skin my vet always recommends a triple antibiotic salve on the skin. Neosporin for example
     
  6. sooner827

    sooner827 New Egg

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    I have around 10 or so hens that have the exact same thing. I've thought it was something in the nests because they are in them everyday. Would cedar chips in the coop and nests run these lice and mites off?
     
  7. Ramon Amoureux

    Ramon Amoureux New Egg

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    I have two barred rock hens. They are missing there feather on there back by the tail feathers on there but and vent. They where with a rooster they have been away from him for about a month. The skin is very red been putting vasolene on it but not getting better. It has now moved to the belly. My other two chickens are fine. What could be causing this?
     
  8. venymae

    venymae Prairie Wind

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    Will try dusting for mites. Thank you!
     
  9. HnkyDnkyZZFarm

    HnkyDnkyZZFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A hen with a red backside was our "red flag" that we had a parasite problem. Two triangles just above the bum fluff behind the wings. Feather lice in our case. They eat feathers, not blood, so feather loss and skin irritation make for lovely red patches with just bare skin. What we noticed was that the hens that were lowest on the pecking order and that roosted together had the most severe infestations, that had progressed to feather loss and in one of the hens, severe irritation and mild prolapse. The lice are tan and even in severe infestations may not be readily visible. Feather lice don't want to get in your hair, so fear not. It's nastier in theory than truth, but still beyond nasty to have to deal with. I get the heebie jeebies just thinking about it. Mild treatment would not have helped our bunch. It was BAD. Pull up your hair, put on your boots, here we go.

    We identified two problems. (three if you count wild bird pass through, which we cleared up by putting all food in feeders inside the coop to make it less accessible to wild birds)

    The hens that roosted together were the lowest on the flock totem pole and the most affected, and I'm pretty sure their diet (too many treats) had something to do with it. They were mostly hand fed and the more aggressive hens would get the higher nutrition portion of the treat food (bird seed) and the lower ranking hens would end up with mostly millet, which was still more appealing to them than their layer crumbles but lacks the nutritional punch for a laying bird. The more aggressive birds had minor cases, where the less assertive birds were COVERED and had seriously chapped bums.

    Red irritated skin with irritated vents immediately makes me think feather lice. Look at the bases of the feathers for a "q-tip" like crust. These are the nits. You may not see the live lice as they scramble away. They probably picked it up from the rooster and they're probably roost mates or prefer to lay in the same nesting box, getting more cross contamination.

    I wanted the parasites gone and gone yesterday. not realistic of course. We got Permectrin II and all six hens got a lovely bath in a 5 gallon homer bucket. They really don't get mad. Lice takes two treatments. Most treatments aside from the ridiculously, prohibitively expensive, do not treat the nits, only live lice. You will have to wait for the next batch to hatch out and treat the second time before you can declare the battle won.

    We also treated the coop, laying boxes and yard, got up all straw, bedding and added diatomaceous earth and sand to their dust baths and nesting boxes (FOOD GRADE!). We took a two week break on eating eggs, although the labeling says it's not necessary. Better cautious than sick and I'm allergic to pretty much everything.

    We may have lost our "organic" status (not commercial, I kid, family flock) but I had another 6 fledglings transitioning from a brooder box indoors to the main coop outdoors pending an all clear check of the infested birds and I didn't want to have to treat them on top of the other six. We do it in the early evening as they're starting to think about roosting up for the night, making sure they are soaked all the way to the skin so there is no hiding places for the lice in the dry feathers.

    The prolapse was treated by three days of isolation in the dark to slow her laying and after three days she was good to go and by day two SIGNIFICANTLY less red. We also took them off treats completely and gave a nutrient drench and they're on only laying crumbles and oyster shell for the time being.
     

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