The feathers around the egg duct have all fallen out!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Dawnshka, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. Dawnshka

    Dawnshka Just Hatched

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    I didn't notice this yesterday but when I checked on my 6 chickens this moring, as I do a couple times per day anyways, I noticed my first year egg laying australorp chicken had lost all of it's feathers around it's bum. Maybe 3 inches in diameter. It's red looking and I couldn't get a good picture of it since she kept moving and I can't seem to post pictures on this site.

    It's my first time with chickens. I live in NH and we got our first real snowfall yesterday, almost a foot. Can anyone shed some light on what's happening to her? None of the others have this. AND she layed this morning.
     
  2. ParadiseFoundFarm

    ParadiseFoundFarm Goddess of Good Things

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    The first and simplest explanation may be you may have mites. Do some parasite control/prevention. Keep the others from picking at her.
     
  3. Dawnshka

    Dawnshka Just Hatched

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    So what do I need to do. Again, this is my first time with chickens. Do I treat all of them and what do I treat with?
     
  4. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Feather picking, moulting, mites can all cause feather loss. Are your roosts set far apart enough so that birds can't pick at each other? Do you let them out at sunrise, and lock them in at sundown? leaving birds cooped up for too long with limited space can cause feather picking, behavioral stress. The best time to check for mites is in the evening when birds are roosting. Take a flashlight and pick up a few birds, checking each one's vent, under wings, along the belly. Mites are usually dark or red colored specks about the size of a pin point that move along the skin. Feather mites burrow into the quill of a feather and some burrow in the skin near the base of feathers. This causes chickens to become irritated and pull feathers.

    Use a permethrin concentrate for spray labeled for mites and lice like Permectrin II or a Rabon-Vapona concentrate like Ravap EC. Treat all the birds by parting the feathers around the vent, along the back, and belly as you spray. A hand-pump sprayer works well for this. Be sure to follow mixing instructions on the label for either product. You can also use Sevin-5 dust by putting a few handfuls in a sack, place the bird in the sack with its head outside the sack and pat the bag to get dust airborne in the bag. Some people cut panty hose and put dust in it for patting the bird down along it's body. Again, it is important to part feathers as you do it like when using a spray. The problem with dusts is you have to do it again 7-10 days later for eggs that have hatched. With the sprays I mentioned, you do not.

    It does no good to treat the birds and not treat the housing. All shavings must be removed from nests and floors. Get up all dust remaining with a broom or shop vac. Use a pump type yard sprayer to administer the pesticide mix. Again, follow all safety methods according to label instructions. Spray down the walls, tops, bottoms, and sides of all roosts, floors, nest boxes, and all cracks or crevices. Give solution time to penetrate wood to mostly dry, and put new shaving back in the coop. The birds can then have access to the coop. It is a good idea to do this 3-4 times a year. It may seem laborious because of the details, but it is easy and prevents infestations so your flock will remain mite and louse free.

    Mites and lice can cause anemia in addition to stress, so it would be a good idea to supplement water with a good water soluble vitamin-mineral, and probiotic powder in waterers 3 days a week in addition to a well balanced feed ration. Avian Super Pack and Probios dispersible powder are a couple of good quality water supplements.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  5. Dawnshka

    Dawnshka Just Hatched

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    My coop is 3X6 and 3 high in front and 4 in back. I've got one roost for them going lengthwise and 6 boxes in the back. Two started laying in the same box but after a while, they made a cute little indentation under the boxes in a corner in the hay and shavings. 4 of the 6 lay there now, the other two haven't started laying yet. A couple like to roost on the walls of the boxes but this bird is usually on the roost. I do not close their door so they can get in and out whenever they want. I have a fence around the area so they are safe.

    OK... so I use the deep litter method... that means that I'll have to start from scratch of course. That is if, in fact, there are mites. I can't do the liquid spray method since it's way below freezing level in NH right now. I did notice that I've been doing the deep litter method wrong. Not nearly enough shavings being used since I'm adding too much straw. I was doing it for the warmth of the chickens but I'm afraid after I start fresh, they won't have the warmth from the decomposition.

    I will check tonight for mites... and worry that I read in another thread that I might get them if I'm not protected??? And if the chickens do have mites, I don't need to worry about the eggs being harmful to eat? Again, so new at this... but I love it! I'll get back to you on the outcome.
     
  6. Viollettt

    Viollettt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  7. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, doors should be closed at night, especially in freezing temperatures. At the same time ventilation is important to prevent the build up of ammonia fumes, etc. I never liked straw since it isn't as absorbent as pine shavings and attracts mites. Mites can also hide in the stalks of straw and remain untouched by treatments. Keeping a deep layer of shavings is good for insulation as well as preventing bumblefoot. Decomposition of litter, or basically a compost heap on the floor is not what I'd advise. Decomposed litter will not warm your birds, but will compromise the air quality in your coop. Chickens trap body warmth with their feathers and keep each other warm on the roosts at night. In very cold climates, many people have insulated housing or at least housing that is draft free but well ventilated (meaning birds should be free of drafts hitting them while roosting). Controlling wetness and the build up of manure is important in litter for the sake of the bird's health. People make all sorts of claims about built up litter, and where they swear by anti-coccidial and nutrient properties, they are not consistent compared to good housekeeping methods. Built up litter is promoted more out of laziness and being eco-trendy, rather than for the benefit of birds.

    A good diet and supplementation will also assist your birds during weather extremes. You may want to plan on designing a new coop. The more air space allowed for birds by height helps very much. Vents can be placed at strategic locations with more ceiling space creating much better air quality in the coop, and keeping drafts off the birds. Both my coops are 8-10' high from floor to ceiling.

    Mites couldn't live on you for long. Just wash up after treatment. With Sevin there is supposedly a withdrawal time of 1 week. With the other two treatments I mentioned, there is not. I've treated coops with emulsified concentrates in freezing weather without any issues. You're coating the surfaces with a spray, not dumping liquid all over the place.
     
  8. Dawnshka

    Dawnshka Just Hatched

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    Thanks for your advice Viollettt... I appreciate the site. I actually got a chance to look at them last night. I didn't see any mites at all. It does look like molting. But would they molt in the dead of winter? Yikes. My daughter said that I have to put something on that hen to keep it warm. I hope it stops soon or I'll be knitting sweaters. LOL I'll check again tonight but we are expecting another 9 inches of snow on top of the 8 from Saturday.
     
  9. Viollettt

    Viollettt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From what I can tell they molt when they molt. LOL There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to it. Plus they all molt in different ways so that adds to the confusion. Especially when it's the first time you see it. It went down to about 23ºF one night and the next day quite a few of my hens started to molt. One of them went bald in a stripe around her whole body from her entire neck, the tops of her legs, and her tail like a skunk stripe. She hadn't really molted in over 2 and a half years, then this. She kind of exploded and then every time she walked she was dropping feathers. If it wasn't so cold at the time it would have been hilarious. I don't think the cold bothers them as much as just having to grow the feathers. I think they are really uncomfortable from the growing. I tried to put something on mine last year when some of them molted and they would have none of it. Some of them weren't so bad but one of the girls actually had a fit and pulled her apron off and threw it on the ground and then sort of stomped on it. Not kidding. LOL She's a character.
     

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