several chickens losing feathers/raw skin please help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by newbiebrian, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. newbiebrian

    newbiebrian New Egg

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    Jun 6, 2010
    I have 8 egg layers, 1 1/2 years old. 5 of then are losing feathers and in differant areas, around neck and back, butt and bottom. Its been going on for a while. My friend who also has chickens think they are fighting. However I never hear or see them fight. I keep them in a coop and a fenced run. I also let them out a few hours a day to roam the yard. I cant see any bugs, lice or mites on them. However I am not sure what I am looking for but I see nothing moving. I have been treating them and the coop for a month for lice just in case. I dont see any improvement. They eat fine, have lost no weight that I can see, the egg producting is a little low. They act fine like nothing is wrong. I added a second perch. I feed them eggs layer pellets, oystershells and grit in coop too. They get fresh water daily. I am not sure what to do? I live in southern Maine. I maybe missing something obvious? please help

    Brian
     
  2. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could it be a moult?
     
  3. newbiebrian

    newbiebrian New Egg

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    Jun 6, 2010
    I dont think so, I saw one of them molting and it doesnt look the same. they have large patchs pulled out, almost like they are plucking them. Maybe it is fighting but I just dont see them fight. I will post a picture tomorrow night. Thanks for replying
     
  4. mikecar007

    mikecar007 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2009
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    This sounds like the beginnings of what I am going through now. I just posted for help tonight as I am at my wits end, I am curious as to what breed you have. I recently read an article on production reds that stated that they are great layers but aggressive and more prone to cannibalism. Fell free to see my post and I would not waste any time and start with making sure you have enough space and adding avia charge 2000 to their water. You can get it from http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com As you will see from my link the problem persists. Best of luck and make sure they have plenty of space, I have read 4 sq ft per bird in the coop and 10 sq ft per bird in the run. My coop exceeds this but still have issues. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=355907
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  5. Kacey's Krazee's

    Kacey's Krazee's Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too am going through this same issue. I have 22 girls, and have verified that the run and the coop are more than large enough for them. I actually have enough room to add another 10. They are still pullets, as they won't turn a year until the end of August. They started with the feather picking/eating in late March. I have tried many ways to try and stop the behavior. I pulled back all snacks. I stopped the scratch, I gave them BOSS, cat food, salmon, tuna fish, shredded cheese, to try and up the protien, thinking they were lacking. I tried putting blu kote on them. I tried axle grease. At least I think it is axle grease. It had a reddish color and was for high temp usage. I couldn't find any black axle grease. The girls just ate it off of each other, and off my fingers, like they couldn't get enough of it. So, read somewhere that there is fat inside the feathers, and that they were missing fat. I had some beef fat that I had cut off a brisket, and saved it for mixing with venison. I unthawed some of that, and offered it to them. They were like dinosars !! I was almost afraid!! I put a small amount in there, as a test, went back and filled it. I then did it again, a week later. Same reaction, feeding frenzy. Also, during this same time, another recommendation was they were getting bored. Mine do not free range. So, I have also been working on keeping them occupied. We bought some alfalfa hay, and spread it around the coop to give them something to scratch, and I spread around BOSS and scratch in the morning, and pick them grass or hang a cabbage for something to do in the afternoon. Something I think is starting to work. I can see feathers starting to sprout, on their necks, backs, butts, and vent areas. It appears that a great deal of the red raw vent areas that I have been working the Blu Kote on has calmed down too. I sure hope so, as I too am out of ideas. Already went through the mites/lice checks repeatedly.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. newbiebrian

    newbiebrian New Egg

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    Well my situation changed greatly yesturday. The girls were out in the yard for a couple hours and something (a fox I suspect) came thru and got at least 2 out of the 8 hens. I found 2 large spots of feathers with a trails to the woods. 2 came back last night before dark and 4 are still missing. Last night a neigbor reported one in there garden but when I got there it was gone and I searched but didnt find her. I have been hoping all day some would come back. I think I looked out back 100 times during the day. I found out from a neigbor that a women down the street lost 7 hens a few days before. So I am down too 2 hens. Not sure what I will do next. I lost 2 a month ago too. The last 2 will have to stay locked up between coup and run.
    I think my coop may have been to small and my run as well for the 10 I started with so I wont exceed 6 now till I build a bigger coop.
    I had 4 red stars, 2 reds, 2 white lehorns and 2 Araucana. The red ones are the ones that lost the feathers, the others seamed in good shape.
    They just dont seam happy unless the get to roam the yard, I have a hard time keeping them pened. not sure what I will do now.


    Thank you everyone for you help

    Brian
     
  7. bamasandman

    bamasandman Out Of The Brooder

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    Going thru the same issues here in the hot deep south. I have one hen that has lost some feathers around the head, this not too bad but I have noticed one of the hens rear end is very bare and raw looking. I too am wondering what this might be. Help for this newbie also. Thanks,
     
  8. Kacey's Krazee's

    Kacey's Krazee's Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Normangee, Texas
    Sorry to hear about your loss.
    Maybe the ones you lost were the culprits of the feather picking!

    Good Luck!

    Kacey
     

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