Unsure about the cause of "notches" missing from tail feathers...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by rozzzatar, May 22, 2019.

  1. rozzzatar

    rozzzatar In the Brooder

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    May 6, 2019
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    Yesterday I noticed one of my bantam hens had 3 what I would call notches missing from some of her tail feathers. At that point no other birds had anything else like it. Then this morning I noticed one of my roosters and another hen had them as well. Upon further inspection the, whole flock is normal/healthy, no parasites, with the exception of these three birds and their notched tails.

    The notches are clean cut-outs from a full feather as if I took scissors and snipped off a middle portion and left everything else.

    Does anyone know what I've got going on here?

    I will post pictures later today when I can.
     
  2. Virginia and James

    Virginia and James Songster

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    Following for pics.
    I would think other flock members, initially.
    What's your run situation look like? Free range, enclosed...?
     
    Sequel and Henriettamom919 like this.
  3. rozzzatar

    rozzzatar In the Brooder

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    I thought pecking/pulling from other members of the flock as well but it doesn't really jive. The feathers are totally intact minus these little 1/4 inch portions. Plus the second hen to present with it is my bossy girl and I've not seen anyone ever mess with her.

    I've got a roof covered coop/run combo which they are confined to at night and a large attached hawk net covered run for daytime use.

    No signs of predators(of any size) having entered the night coop/run combo. I checked inside the coop for any "non chicken" droppings, markings, etc and nothing.
     
    to BarbsGirls likes this.
  4. Henriettamom919

    Henriettamom919 Songster

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    I realize that it doesn't fit your chickens usual narrative but I had this happen a few months back and it did end up being a rotation in pecking order. My then alpha was taking the brunt and initially I thought a hawk had bitten off a few before she fled into the coop.

    Your description of scissor cuts is dead on with what was wrong with my girl. It eventually happened to a couple of my birds (small flock) and the one responsible eventually emerged as alpha. I would have bet money on it being anything else, initially.
     
    to BarbsGirls and Sequel like this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Look forward to seeing these.
    But I'd bet pecked by other chickens.
     
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  6. rozzzatar

    rozzzatar In the Brooder

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    May 6, 2019
    Athol, Massachusetts
    These are from today. Two more birds showing the same patterns. So 5 out of 11 birds. Seeming to be worse today than before. Not just notches missing now. But definitely clean cuts off of tail feathers.

    I have not observed any one picking on anyone...no scuffles or anything.

    If this is one bird trying to establish themselves will it persist or die down as they figure things out?
     

    Attached Files:

  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    :welcome :frow Never have seen that before.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    That is odd....looks like they were trimmed with scissors.
     
    anderstr196 likes this.
  9. Virginia and James

    Virginia and James Songster

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    What the heck?!
     
    anderstr196 likes this.
  10. Ghosty

    Ghosty Songster

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    rozzzatar likes this.

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