Well, I give up. Bald hens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CARS, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. CARS

    CARS Songster

    I can't seem to figure out why half of my hens are bald. I don't see any bugs, they don't appear to be picking eachother, and I have no rooster in their pen. They are a variety of hens, all about 1 year old. The feathers don't come back. They are sore, but I think it is sunburn (very red in the bald area only).

    I have cleaned, used Seven Dust, they have a dust bath that they use, an out door run (nowhere close to not enough space) and like I said, no Roo

    Any ideas??
  2. emys

    emys Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Are they just on layer feed? Have you tried a high protein feed? I would try a high protien ffed and some vitamins and electrolytes in their water or mixed with water in the feed in small batches.
  3. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Songster

    Dec 14, 2009
    My birds have bald areas, and no rooster in the group. I think they feather pick at night, or at least in the early evening, when they are starting to slow down and sit, and in the morning when they are waking up. I have had good luck with using an apron, and pinless peepers. Both discourage picking in those areas. The peepers seem to get fatigue, and pop out easily when they have been in place for maybe six months or so, so take that into consideration if you buy them.
    The higher protein food may help reduce the craving for protein that the birds may exhibit by picking, but I have not found it to work with my birds. I tried a higher protein food, give them scrambled eggs, yogurt, and black oil sunflower seeds, and no change. Sometimes old habits are just hard to break.
  4. CARS

    CARS Songster

    I didn't intentionally try higher protein, but the hens were eating the same 22% I was feeding my Cornish X's. (for about 10 weeks while I had them this spring/summer) They are back to 16% now.

    Maybe 22% broiler feed is not the same as a 22% layer feed. Sure looks and smells the same [​IMG]

    They were bald this last winter (I assumed molt) and never came out of it. It's only about 6 of the 14 chickens that are bald, but it's pretty ugly and I would imagine uncomfortable for them.
  5. Lollipop

    Lollipop Songster 9 Years

    CARS, you can bet that there is feather picking going on. Maybe as they roost in the evening, but sometime. The red skin on the head is only a matter of exposure to the sun. Not sunburn and not painfull or raw, just a natural color for exposed flesh. You might try Noxema Face Cream on their heads. It tastes bad to them and will discourage pecking.. Hope this helps........Pop
  6. zazouse

    zazouse Crowing

    Sep 7, 2009
    Southeast texas
    I have hens that take months to go threw a molt and some from the same hatch that molt a little at a time like a parrot,all of my chickens free range and are fed flock raiser free choice and surplus eggs, sometimes it just takes time.
  7. CARS

    CARS Songster

    The red is on the back/tail area. They are not missing any (or very few) feathers from their heads.

    Since it is only about half my flock, I think it is safe to rule out mites, lice, and other creepy bugs.

    I think I have given them enough time to recover from last winter's molt.

    And just because I don't see picking, it doesn't mean it doesn't happen (my kids think just because I don't actually catch them that I don't know whats going on either [​IMG] ).

    Never had this problem before so I will have to read up on methods to keep them from picking eachother. They need a time out. Go stand in the corner!
  8. Lollipop

    Lollipop Songster 9 Years

    Quote:So put the Noxema on their bald spots, wherever they are. I just naturally thought head whe you said "bald", LOL..........Pop
  9. rufus

    rufus Crowing

    May 17, 2007
    Sometimes when there is no rooster, an alpha hen will take on the role. Keep an eye out for this. I have seen this happen in the Women's prison. Cackling rooster and crowing hen come to no good end.


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