Strange Feather Loss & Scaly Dry Skin on 14 Wk Old Silkies - HELP!

KiloMae

In the Brooder
Oct 19, 2020
9
25
18
Southern California
Hello. This is my first post on backyard chickens. As of this past summer, I am a new chicken mama to 3 silkies (hopefully hens, but still not sure!). I have read so many helpful threads on this site. Hoping someone with more experience can provide a little guidance on a feather loss issue!

My silkies are about three-and-a-half months old, and as of a couple weeks ago, I started noticing lots of feathers dropping in their coop & run. At first I thought it was just from one chicken, but it appears they all have been losing feathers in a way that looks very strange. It's particularly noticeable on the legs of 2 of them, where their feathers have become very sparse and some appear to be broken off on the shaft. Their legs used to be more fluffy. This same sparseness appears on some areas of their bodies if you examine closely (although I hadn't been pulling their fluff up to look underneath much prior to this, so I don't have a real basis for comparison). The feathers on the head of my buff one also appear to be broken off in a strange way. Their skin and feet also appears to be very dry and flakey, but since I am new at this, I don't really know what is normal. Attaching images for reference.


Considerations
- I have checked them for lice and have not detected bugs actually ON them. How would I check for mites or other bugs? Does this look like a parasite?
- I have not noticed them pecking at themselves excessively but will continue to monitor...would they be visibly itchy if they had bugs?
- I have not noticed them pecking each other or fighting really, so I don't think they are doing this to one another.
- A couple weeks ago I did change their feed from Scratch & Peck (which I think is soy & corn free) to Kalmbach Feeds 20% Protein. Could this be feed related?
- I have read some threads on early molting but they seem to young. Does this look like molting?

Living conditions
- I empty out their coop about once a week and replace it with fresh bedding (aspen shavings).
- Their run litter is mostly mulch wood chips with some dirt mixed in. I do not empty the run litter, instead I rake it weekly. I dust it with Lime (First Sunday Insect Repellent Lime) and add more litter every few weeks. It doesn't smell & we haven't had flies or anything.
- They have a box about the size of a large shoe box filled with sand as a dust bath. They sit in it but I don't ever see them dust bathing :(
- They tend to sleep on the floor of the coop but do I put them on their perch at night and lately they have been staying up their all night. They won't go up on their own.
- We living in Southern CA so their coop has 2 full walls, one 1/2 wall, and the front is full open (w/ wire of course). Lots of air flow, idk if maybe too much air.

Any guidance would be much appreciated! If this is due to parasites or illness I want to get it sorted out quickly.
 

Attachments

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
88,164
107,022
1,737
SW Michigan
My Coop
- A couple weeks ago I did change their feed from Scratch & Peck (which I think is soy & corn free) to Kalmbach Feeds 20% Protein. Could this be feed related?
- I have read some threads on early molting but they seem to young. Does this look like molting?
Feed change could have an effect.
At 3.5 months it's most likely a juvenile molt, normal for that age.
 

KiloMae

In the Brooder
Oct 19, 2020
9
25
18
Southern California
Feed change could have an effect.
At 3.5 months it's most likely a juvenile molt, normal for that age.
Thanks for your reply! I didn't realize they have a juvenile molt. Would they be molting on the feet like this? I was concerned that maybe that have Scaly leg mites because their feet look dry & flakey, but again I don't know what's normal.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
88,164
107,022
1,737
SW Michigan
My Coop
Thanks for your reply! I didn't realize they have a juvenile molt. Would they be molting on the feet like this? I was concerned that maybe that have Scaly leg mites because their feet look dry & flakey, but again I don't know what's normal.
Any molt would include feathers on feet(I think).
SLM is indicated by raised leg scales.
Caring for feather footed birds can be a PITA,
I don't know much about because I got rid of most my feather footed birds.
 

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