Ruffled looking feathers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chixlittel, Feb 25, 2015.

  1. Chixlittel

    Chixlittel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a 24 week old Rhode Island Red that has ruffled looking feather. She eats, drinks, acts totally fine. She makes a quiet shrill noise often, which I take as being content. I have checked her vent. No sign of mites or lice. They have actually only ever been outside once when they were 10 weeks old. The weather turned cold, and my husband didn't get the coop built in time, so they live in a coop in the garage. I highly doubt they have mites, lice, worms ect. Is it bad that her feathers look so ruffled? [​IMG]
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  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    She probably just needs a good molt. Most birds don't molt until their second fall.

    But she looks tired and her tail is hanging. Something else could be going on.
     
  3. Peep-Chicken

    Peep-Chicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Is there any chance she is egg bound? Any waddling gate?

    Most egg bound chickens don't eat or drink, but you never know.
     
  4. Chixlittel

    Chixlittel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was actually thinking molt. This is my first time having chickens. I know nothing about molting. But that is what I was wondering.

    No, she is not waddling. I don't think she is egg bound.

    What can I expect from molting. Isn't she too young for that already?
     
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Have you done an exam to check for egg binding just to be sure? Sometimes the only way to diagnose a bird is to rule everything out first.

    If she is molting you will see not only feathers all over the coop or run but pin feathers around her neck and head. They usually start there first, but some birds can start on other areas of the body. Pinfeathers will be present if she is molting.
     
  6. Chixlittel

    Chixlittel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How do you Check for egg bound? I've read a little about it. Wouldn't she be acting sick? She eats, drinks, runs around. She's not acting sick. I've noticed one of my buff orpingtons has a swollen ear lobe. But she doesn't even have that. No runny noses, I put vetRx in their water, and a drop on their heads every night before bed. They get probiotics/electrolytes in their water every other day. It has been cold. Negatives at night here where I live. I do know she is pretty low on the peaking order. Could the other hens be ruffling her feathers? I still can't figure out who is laying eggs. I never see her in the nest box, but it could be cuz one of my buffs hogs the box that everyone likes. I have a few that lay outside of the house. I have gotten quite a few eggs with no shell, just membrane. I throw oyster shell on the ground for them to scratch every morning. I usually spend an hour every night observing them. Thank you for any input.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  7. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    The thing I don't like is the hanging tail. Is her tail always down? Or just briefly for this picture? If she is just as active as the others, eats well, drinks well and poops well, then I wouldn't bother with the egg check. But it is a very easy test to perform. Just put on a latex disposable glove and lube up your index finger with some KY-Jelly or Vaseline. Gently insert your finger into her vent. Not down or to the side but straight back. If she has a stuck egg, you will feel it within the first 1 to 2 inches. If you feel nothing, you are in her intestines and she is not egg bound.

    As for the ruffled feathers, if she is not molting, the others could be lunging at her and tearing at her feathers. Watch them next time you feed some treats and see if they don't go after each other and rip at feathers.

    Also, you say they don't go outside at all? Sunshine is important for good feather health. If the don't get enough of it, feathers can become weak and brittle. It is very important for birds to sun bathe.

    Have you checked for mites? Mites can be on birds that are kept indoors as well.
     
  8. Chixlittel

    Chixlittel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Eek. I didn't realize about getting sunshine for their feathers. They do get quite a bit from all the windows in my garage, and on nice days, (usually in the 30s) I open the garage door to let in fresh air and light. But that is usually only once per week. I've checked her vent and others for mites, cuz I'm paranoid about them, I haven't seen anything. I check at night like I've read, and use a flash light. I've seen no sign of them. Oh, and no her tail doesn't normally hang like that. I think she was scared that I put her up on top of there house.

    I just want to also say I feel terrible that they live in my garage. When I ordered my chicks, I told my husband he had so much time before they needed a coop. Well, he failed to get it done in time. I always wanted happy, frolicking chickens, and here they are, in my garage, in a outdoor dog kennel, with a makeshift house, and I'm so not happy about it. It makes me kinda sad.

    I'll check again for mites tonite. Thank you.
     

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