SUDDENLY, my Chicken is Nearly Bald! WHAT TO DO? *{PICS ADDED!}*

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Astrid, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. Astrid

    Astrid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there,

    EDITED TO ADD PICS-- GO TO THIS POST:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=2854638#p2854638

    We have been gone on vacation for ten days. We had dear friends house sitting for us, staying here in the house and taking care of the dogs, cats and hens. We returned home tonight to find a nearly-bald hen, crusty and oozing! I spoke with the sitter, who reports that all seven hens, (3 adults and four 3 mo. old pullets, in a separate run and coop) had been fine all week.

    Two days ago, one of our four adult hens suddenly looked bald, missing lots of feathers on her back, bottom and chest. She thought maybe another hen was picking on her, so she sat for an hour in a lawn chair across the yard from the run and never saw any evidence of that.

    This morning, she went to let the girls out and poor Mable looked WORSE! Almost ALL of her tail and wing feathers are missing, and there are areas on her wing tips and at the base of her tail that are kind of crusty, like they were oozing. She's eating, but not hanging around outside with the other girls. None of the others are affected at all. There are no injuries that I could find, just the missing feathers, like she was plucked alive, poor thing! We do not have a rooster, so it can't be that. The poor thing is roosting on the floor as with no wing feathers, she can't make it up to the roost! I feel terrible! Will wing feathers grow back?

    Nothing in their routine has changed. The four pullets are in a separate run, parallel to the big girls' run, and are partitioned off from the rest of the coop with a six foot x-pen and wire on the top. NOTHING could have gotten into the coop; it's like Fort Knox. No diet changes, no bedding changes, nothing except new folks staying in the house. It really seems like she's doing this to herself, but it's pretty stark! And WHY?

    What should we do? Give her a warm bath? Put some sort of salve on it? Put her in a dog crate? We're just shocked at her appearance, and worried about her! I"ll make her some scrambled egg in the morning for protein.
    Here are some pictures:
    [​IMG]

    I"ll answer the usual questions here, in all caps:

    1) What type of bird , age and weight. 2.5 Y O BARRED ROCK HEN

    2) What is the behavior, exactly. SEE ABOVE

    3) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma. JUST MAJOR BALDNESS, AND CRUSTY SPOTS FROM REALLY VIOLENT FEATHER PULLING--- NO WOUNDS THAT WE CAN SEE AT ALL. NO SIGN OF MITES OR LICE, EITHER.

    4) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation. SEE ABOVE

    5) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all. LAYER PELLETS, SOME SCRATCH, FRESH WATER W/ AVIA CHARGE 2000

    6) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc. JUST GOT HOME FROM VACATION; HAVEN'T SEEN HER POOP YET

    7) What has been the treatment you have administered so far? NONE-- SEE ABOVE

    8 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet? TREAT MYSELF; NOT SURE WHAT TO DO!

    9) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help. CAMERA IS STILL PACKED; HAVEN'T EVEN UNLOADED THE CAR YET FROM 10 DAYS IN MARITIME CANADA! SHOCKED AND WORRIED, SO CAME HER FIRST!

    10) Describe the housing/bedding in use VERY LARGE COOP WITH HARDWOOD FLOORING AND WOOD SHAVINGS AS BEDDING. SHUT INSIDE AT NIGHT, IN MORNING LET OUT INTO LARGE (40' X 30') OUTDOOR RUN, 10 FEET HIGH AND COVERED WITH CHICKEN WIRE, BURIED 12" IN GROUND AND FLANGED OUT BELOW GROUND, TOP COMPLETELY ENCLOSED. LIKE FORT KNOX! NO WAY IT COULD HAVE BEEN A PREDATOR, i DON'T THINK!

    Thanks for any help! We are SO upset about this!
    Astrid
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  2. pattycake

    pattycake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could she just be moulting? It's that time of year... otherwise, I'd suspect the other hens of plucking, and possibly eating, her feathers.
     
  3. Astrid

    Astrid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Connecticut
    Feathers are definitely laying around the coop and run, so they're not being eaten.

    If it's moulting, it's a really hard molt. But would her skin look so oozy and crusty? Like they were violently pulled out? I'm just sick thinking about my poor girl!

    Anyone have any advice? What should I be doing for her?

    astrid
     
  4. Astrid

    Astrid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 30, 2007
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    please? anyone?

    betadine bath, followed by bag balm?

    and what caused it????

    Please?

    astrid
     
  5. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    A picture might be helpful in trying to determine what's going on with her.
     
  6. Astrid

    Astrid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 30, 2007
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    I will get one today; as I said, we had JUST arrived back from vacation and my camera was still packed. I checked my chickens before even going in the house and was shocked to find sweet Mable. In the meantime, I need to know what to do for her!

    My thought was to go get some betadine and give her a warm bath, then slather in bag balm. Would that be correct?

    astrid
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm not aware of any diseases that would cause all the feathers to fall out as you describe. The Kansas State site below describes feather picking and yours does not sound like that. It does not sound like molting either since it is so sudden. I cannot come up with a scenario that would cover this. I'd guess you do not need the molting site but I'll include it anyway. The other site talks about feather picking so you might get something out of that.

    Unless someone else comes up with something pretty solid, I'd suggest calling your county extension office and see if they can help. Isolating her in a dog crate and the scrambled egg sure will not hurt. I think I would not do the bath since that may add to her stress.

    Mississippi State describes molting
    http://msucares.com/poultry/management/poultry_feathers.html

    Kansas State feather loss
    http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/library/lvstk2/mf2308.pdf
     
  8. Nif

    Nif Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 16, 2008
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    A photo would be great...otherwise, PM me as I might have something that would help her skin issue.
     
  9. Highland Moongazer

    Highland Moongazer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is this a chicken that is particularly attached to you, or afraid of strangers?

    Perhaps it's self-inflicted due to stress...
     
  10. Three Cedars Silkies

    Three Cedars Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    Sounds like a good, hard molting to me...sometimes they get absolutely bald. Try feeding them canned tunafish packed in oil for about 5 days. The extra protein and oil helps them get over the molt quicker.
     

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