Should I treat the skin of a featherless head with no wound?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by glenny, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. glenny

    glenny Out Of The Brooder

    May 21, 2010
    I have a 7 month old Aurecana/Americana with a featherless head (but no wound or broken skin) and a dirty bum.
    I have several questions:
    Should I treat the bare skin on her head in any way? She's never molted but I think the loss of feathers is due to being lowest in the hierarchy of my flock. No one else has bare spots.
    She also gets poop caked on her rear feathers. Do you think this indicates a health issue? I keep her clean and make sure she has extra food but am I doing all I can?
    Do you think she is picked on because she is in poor health or is there always one who is pestered because of her standing in the flock? My 8 chickens get a great diet but they don't have a huge space to roam.
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Hi Glenny-

    My lowest order hen is slightly bedraggled because of her standing in the flock. I wouldn't be surprised if it is the same in yours. I wouldn't bother treating her unless you want to. She should be fine, and in fact this may be the start of a molt. The first place they lose feathers in a molt is around their heads.

    You can give a bath to clean up the butt feathers. She will probably love it. Most chickens do. Then you can trim some excess fluff off to keep the feathers cleaner, longer. I wouldn't worry about her having health problems just because she has messy butt feathers. It happens all the time. I have often noted that the older the feathers the more likely that they are going to look soiled, so I am thinking that your girl is a prime candidate for molting.

    I hope this helps. If she actually does go into a hard molt be sure to take some pics and enter her in The Worst Molt contest later in the summer on BYC. It's always a hoot to see the poor bald contestants there.

    Good luck with her.
  3. glenny

    glenny Out Of The Brooder

    May 21, 2010
    Thanks for the reassuring comments. I am heartened. It's amazing how much you grow to love the ones you have to tend the most.

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