Sunburn on bare-backed SLW hen!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by azygous, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I have never seen the problem of sunburn addressed. I have a two-year old Silver-laced Wyandotte hen who, due to being at the bottom of the pecking order, gets picked on, as well as lacking the proper nutrition to re-grow lost feathers.

    Alice has been bare-backed for over a year now. I made her a cape with shoulder ruffles to wear during the winter to help her retain her body heat during the long Rocky Mountain winter. I was hoping that the protection might also permit her feathers to grow back. Didn't happen.

    She wore the cape all summer until just a few weeks ago, when I removed it to see if the light would activate her feather growth. But she is now prone to sunburn. I've been squirting her back and shoulders with SPC 15 sunscreen but I still see her skin getting pink. I doubt she'd live long enough for skin cancer to be a problem, but I worry it might be making her skin painful and sensitive.

    And still very little feather growth. I've tried feeding her alone, but she refuses to eat unless she's with the flock and they give her permission.

    She's a champion egg layer, by the way. Culling her is out of the question, even if I didn't love her to pieces.

    Has anyone had a problem like this? What did you do? Is there any chance her feathers will ever grow back?
  2. SilverPhoenix

    SilverPhoenix Bantam Fanatic

    Dec 15, 2009
    Penn Valley, CA
    Oh, poor bird! It sounds like you've made some good steps so far to try and protect her. Maybe try a higher SPF sunscreen along with her cape? Or perhaps make a thicker cape? Personally if I have a bird that's being that badly picked-on and who needs some extra help, I usually separate them with a friend and have them live together on their own for a while. That allows them time to recover physically and get enough food. I don't know if that's an option for you, but it's worth a shot!

    I hope poor Alice grows her feathers back soon so you don't have to worry about her so much!

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