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Severe feather loss and injury - advice required please

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by KellyPrince, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. KellyPrince

    KellyPrince New Egg

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    Sep 6, 2014
    Hello,

    I have owned my chickens for three years now (not sure of their breeds I'm afraid)

    I noticed in the last 10 days that they have had significant feather loss in two of my hens and assumed they were moulting. However, on closer inspection today I've also noticed one of my hens is injured under her wing and there is quite an amount of blood in the area, as well as in their coop.

    Another hen has a white lump on her bottom area. I've never noticed this before as she has never been bald in that area so I'm not sure if this is something that should be there (tail bone maybe?) or if it is some sort of growth.

    I've never noticed them go bald as a result of moulting but they're really bald at the moment, on their backs and particularly around their bottom area. And one of them has quite a red, sore looking bottom.

    I spend a lot of time in my garden so assumed I would notice if they've been pecking each other due to the noise etc. but I've heard nothing out of the ordinary recently. It might also be worth mentioning that they seem slightly nervous around me now, whereas before they were very tame and would let us handle them.

    This is the first problem I've had with my hens so I'm really concerned with what would be causing their severe feather loss, baldness and injury.

    I have checked for any signs if mites etc. but cannot find anything that would suggest this is the cause.

    Any advice would be hugely appreciated please as I'm really concerned for them.

    I'm guessing pictures of the hens would help so if pics are required, please let me know and I will try my best to post them.

    Thanks
     
  2. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Pictures would help. It does sound like they are picking at each other, or themselves. Even if you don't see lice or mites, they can be there. Do they have a dust bath? Do you have a rooster?
     
  3. Wol1

    Wol1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pictures definitely would help. Could the blood under the wing be from a broken feather? If they break where they are purple (full of blood) they can bleed profusely. Blood stop/stryptic/flour can stop it, but the sure fire way, which also allows a new one to grow, is to pull the feather out. Getting the feathers in the area wet also makes it easier to see if there is some kind of trauma under there. If they are red around their vents, you might look into internal parasites. Do they have diarrhea? Safeguard is a good wide spectrum internal parasite medicine, is safe (overdose level is way higher than dosage level - give 1/2 ml per 2.2 lbs body weight - 1ml/2.2 lbs is needed to kill some parasites, though, like Giardia), and is affordable and readily available at feed stores. Nearly all of my chickens had irritation around their bottoms when they had internal parasites. 2/3 of my chickens went bald from neck to tail on their undersides, their legs, and under their wings when they had a Giardia infection (a protozoa). Some external mites can also cause problems around the vent area. Are there any scabs? Dried blood? Have you checked them with a flashlight during the night? Is the lump the same as the pineal gland, or is it different in shape/color/size/location?A few recently had a "shock molt" when the dog got loose, jumped their fence, and killed and/or mauled 4 of them. Feathers just fell off within hours. Some on the back, others in patches on their legs. There are no underlying wounds.....just bare.

    The fact that they are nervous around you suddenly is strange. Have you changed anything about yourself? Haircut? Have they had any kind of unpleasant interaction with you recently? Mine didn't want me to come near them in the coop at night for quite awhile after I medicated them with Safeguard. (It was less stressful for everybody to wait until they were in for the night and settling down - no chasing to catch, three of us home to hold/open mouth/dispense medication.) It took time and some sessions of short gentle pets with soft voice to overcome that.

    These are just some ideas to get you started. Pictures speak thousands of words, though, when it comes to injuries/illnesses.
     
  4. KellyPrince

    KellyPrince New Egg

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    Sep 6, 2014
    Hi,

    Thanks for your replies.

    I called my neighbour round as he has kept chickens and ducks for a while now and he had a look for me. He thinks they've been pecking at each other and once there was some blood, they carried on pecking.

    Having had a closer inspection this afternoon once there were two of us (one to hold and one to inspect), we noticed a huge gash under her wing, literally all the feathers had been pecked out and it was just a huge open wound. I have covered the wound in anti-bacterial powder. I am going to separate her from the rest and spray them all with anti-peck spray.

    I've also taken the opportunity to treat their coop with mite spray so that should eradicate any mite/lice problems.

    Thanks again for your replies. I'll be sure to keep you posted!
     
  5. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another hen has a white lump on her bottom area. I've never noticed this before as she has never been bald in that area so I'm not sure if this is something that should be there (tail bone maybe?) or if it is some sort of growth.

    Is this above her tail? If so it is probably the oil gland.
     
  6. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Or the hen with the white lump could have an infection. Definitely have another look at her. Sounds like your neighbor is a good resource. You can also put saddles on the hens, you can buy them on here at a good price. Good luck with them and keep us posted. Welcome to BYC. :)
     

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