Rescue hen tail feathers missing

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JeaMar, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. JeaMar

    JeaMar New Egg

    Oct 31, 2009
    We have adopted a 1 (to 1 1/2 yr old.) Black Japanese Bantam hen that had been kept in a run with probably 15 to 20 roosters. She was the only hen in the group, and I think spent most of her time perched on the highest spot she could find. She is missing all of her tail feathers, but otherwise seems healthy. In fact, she has been quite happy to let us hold and cuddle her since we brought her home. Her tail looks horrible though, feathers look plucked (or ripped) out, some just missing, others look broken off and bloody.[​IMG]

    I did observe her eating a few of her small feathers that came off her this morning, but I think she is probably missing her tail due to either feather picking (by the roosters) or stress. She is eating well and drinking. Poop is normal. We have her separated from our flock in a 3 ft by 4 ft pen we keep in the garage that we previously used for raising chicks this past spring.

    What would be the best way to get her tail feathers growing back? Any suggestions on diet supplements, vitamins, etc... Would it be a good idea to give her starter/chick feed with antibiotics for a white in case the tail becomes infected?

    Thanks for any suggestions.
  2. SallyF

    SallyF Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2009
    Middle Tennessee
    I have one in a heavy molt, with most feathers missing. She's eating layer pellets along with the rest, but I'm separating her and giving her Poly-Vi-Sol vitamins (without iron) occasionally and high-protein treats such as yogurt or scrambled egg with rolled oats mixed in. Somewhere in a post here I read that oats/oatmeal are good for feather-growing. I don't know about the medication or what the dose of vitamins would be for a bantam; you can probably search and find it here somewhere though. Poor thing... one hen and 15-20 roosters!!! I imagine she's glad to be by herself for a while.
  3. adkchickmama

    adkchickmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2009
    JeaMar, I am a NEw Egg too, have had my girls for about a year now. We have had two incidents of feather loss. One hen was grabbed by a hawk and had wounds the other was pecked raw on his head by older girls. In both cases I cleaned the wound with saline and packed with polysporin, For the hen I made a "vest" of an old sweater sleeve so no-one would peck her wounds. For our 1 mo old roo I had to keep him seperated from the flock after that. he stayed inside in a guinea pig cage until his head healed. (He looked scalped). His mother was one of the flock who went after him unfortunately. I also kept them inside and warm so no flys could get into the wounds until they healed over. Had success getting both my hen and roo healed and back to into their flock ok. Best of Luck. I 'm sure there will be more experienced BYC'ers with advice on soon to help you out. [​IMG]
  4. adkchickmama

    adkchickmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2009
    JeaMar, Yes PlyviSol vitamins (without iron) is good. two drops twice a day in the beak. Also feeding medicated feed is for Cocci and won't help like an antibiotic would. i have never used antibiotics on my birds so do not have experience with them.
  5. msgenie516

    msgenie516 The Happy Hen

    May 16, 2008
    Nesconset, LI, NY

    I'm sure I won't be of much help to you, but sometimes hens lose all of their tail feathers almost at the same time when they molt. Maybe this happened and then someone decided to pick some more off? I think she is at the age that she would go into her first molt, and this is the season.

    Someone else mentioned adding protein to her diet, which is a good idea. I might keep her from picking any more feathers off. Also, I have heard of some kind of ointment (I think it might be called BlueKote or something like that) that would camouflage the wounds so others wouldn't be attracted to the red blood. You might want to ask in your feed store.

    I don't know if I've been of any help, but good luck! [​IMG] Genie

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