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what is going on with my chickens? Bald spots? (pics)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Christie Rhae, May 1, 2011.

  1. Christie Rhae

    Christie Rhae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 5, 2010
    Big Island, Hawaii
    My hens are all hatched last summer. This is my first year with chickens and we are loving it.
    My girls are laying lots of eggs and seem otherwise healthy except lately I have been noticing weird bald spots. At first I thought it was normal molting ( they have not really molted yet that I can tell) but the bald patches do not seem to go away and not all the chickens have the bald spots. I have 16 hens and no roosters. They do not roam free cuz of loose dogs. We live in Hawaii and the weather is pretty much the same all year. What can this be? Molting? bugs? hen pecking? help!!

    example of a scraggly bottom...
    [​IMG]

    a few chickens have this...bald around the tail.
    [​IMG]


    worst of the bald bottoms. It has been this way for several weeks.
    [​IMG]

    another bald around tail feathers.
    [​IMG]


    and some are totally unaffected..
    [​IMG]
     
  2. schellie69

    schellie69 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2009
    Kansas
    I would almost think that they are pecking the others. I had that problem until I gave them more protein.
     
  3. La Mike

    La Mike (Always Slightly Off)

    Nov 20, 2009
    louisiana
    I would think roosteritis. Have you looked close for mites?
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    I'm thinking the same as schellie, the ones that have no blad places are pecking the ones that do. Try the extra protein.
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    That's not molting, they would look sort of raggedy, and it doesn't start on their bottoms but on their head/necks. That is pecking/feather picking. The one with the bare back looks overmated. I know you said you have no rooster so I wonder if you have a hen who is mounting other hens. The ones who have no damage are probably the ones doing most of the damage. Likely they need more space and/or more protein.

    here are some threads about this from the FAQ page:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=34705
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=31291
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=36139
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=30486
     
  6. Christie Rhae

    Christie Rhae Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,459
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    Big Island, Hawaii
    I have seen one of the larger hens mounting others. She lays eggs and does not crow so I just figured she was top hen and got all butch...I think I have read about that.

    What would I give them for protein? Is there something commercial that I could buy or should I cook up something myself? I feed them layer pellets, chicken scratch, BOSS and every kitchen scrap I have except for the few things they shouldn't have.

    They have a 110 square foot run and lots of roosting places. Half roost inside the hen house and half roost out in the run on high perches. It is warm all year so I figured it was ok if some slept outside. I would love to let them roam free during the day but just don't dare. Is this not enough space for 16 hens?
     
  7. buckabucka

    buckabucka Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 13, 2010
    Fairfield, Maine
    My Coop
    I had the same problem, same number of hens (and a rooster, though), and similar size run. Of course, we have winter here, and the hens didn't go in the run when it was snowy. While I saw a few pick feathers, I discovered one who consistently picked feathers off of everyone.

    My solution:
    I increased protein by feeding Purina flock raiser (I mixed in some layer feed and offered oyster shell for calcium).
    I started letting them free-range a little, which distracted them. We have the dog problem too, - although the dog is only loose about once a month. We bought an electric fence, and now let them "free-range" in an enclosed 40x40 area.
    I put pinless peepers on the main feather picker and one other hen.
    I also bought Avia charge (from McMurray) to put in their water, but I actually haven't even used it yet!

    Feathers are growing back now! Good luck with this!
     
  8. Christie Rhae

    Christie Rhae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Big Island, Hawaii
    I realize now that this thread probably belongs under "chicken behaviors" instead of "illness/injury" category.
    Thank you so much for all the info! I have read everything on here. I think I had a nagging suspicion that they were doing it to themselves/each other. I never ever see them plucking at each other out in the run. I think it was happening while sitting in the next boxes. The others who were not laying an egg at that moment were bored and went in and plucked at the bottoms of hens sitting in the boxes.

    Here is what I did right away to address the protein issue....ran and gave them a scoop of cat food. Then read further...ran and gave them a can of tuna. Read further...ran and gave them some chopped up hardboiled eggs (left over from easter).

    I think they were bored too. I have been wanting to let them run loose but was just so scared to let them out. I was always so careful about closing doors behind me etc. I just could not bear to lose one chicken. It was scary but yesterday afternoon....I opened the doors! Ack! I could tell they were just so happy to have new places to scratch and explore. I sat out there with them all afternoon just to make sure everything went ok. They were so cute exploring. We dug up some weeds and found some juicy worms...they scratched and found great bugs. By dusk everyone found their way back to their favorite roosts. And I closed the doors.

    Here are some pics of their first moments let out.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I cannot trust the chickens to be out if I am not home to keep an eye on them so I decided to cook up something for them on days when I have to go to work and cannot let them out.
    Here is our recipe:
    layer pellets
    BOSS
    scratch
    chopped up hardboiled eggs
    raw eggs thrown in with shells and all
    oat meal
    canned tuna
    whole wheat flower
    plain yogurt
    and some water
    -mixed that all up and am baking it at 250 degrees for one hour.
    I am hoping they will be hard as bricks and the chickens will have to pick at it all day to eat. Maybe this will alleviate cooped up boredom. If the girls with bare spots are too irresistible for the others I am going to do the duct tape trick next.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2011
  9. Christie Rhae

    Christie Rhae Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,459
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    Jul 5, 2010
    Big Island, Hawaii
    Well my chickens have been able to roam free for several days now and they are loving it. I love seeing them cruising around the yard. They are so cute. When I go outside they all follow me around. So cute.

    I have noticed that they drink way less water since I have been letting them out. So odd. They have total access to the water and I see them drinking. But I have not had to refill the water jugs in 2 days. Usually the jugs would be empty before one day was over. I don't know where else they could be getting water. They are able to eat a lot more greens so maybe getting moisture from that?
     
  10. schellie69

    schellie69 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2009
    Kansas
    I know when my girls get board the peck at each other. I also switched to a flock raiser it help to boost protein so the their feathers can grow back and I just give them crushed egg shells. I think letting them out will help you can also hang cabbage and other veggie treats to give them some thing to peck at. Good luck. Oh great idea on the recipe.
     

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