What is this!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kle2684, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. kle2684

    kle2684 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2014
    Can someone give me some insite?! This is my 6 month old Brahma hen. She has been layin for about 6 weeks. She was perfectly normal yesterday and today I noticed she has no feathers on hr underside! She is acting totally fine otherwise. What's going on!?[​IMG]
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    That's what the undercarriage of a chicken looks like as lice take up long term residence.

    Examine her very closely. You may see tiny bugs running around on the skin close to the vent. If you fail to see the lice, you almost surely will see the eggs glued to the feather shafts close to the skin.

    To the naked eye, the lice eggs look like caked on dirt, but if you yank out a feather and look at this "dirt" through a hand lens, you will see the tiny eggs clustered around the base of the feather.

    There are other parasites, particularly depluming mites, that will also cause feather loss. Check your coop and roosting perches after dark to see if there are any in residence.
     
  3. kle2684

    kle2684 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2014
    Thanks! I've checked for mites and lice. I'm a vet tech so I actually took her to work with me today, looked at some feathers under the microscope and had the doctor examine the skin. No evidence of parasites. Out of curiosity, I started using a totally different kind of hay and scratch feed this past weekend. Do you think it could play a role?
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Might be possible that she be going broody. The bare belly is usually the first sign in my girls.
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Is the OP in a place where it's spring now? A bald tummy certainly could mean she's going broody. But if it's going into winter where you are, broodiness is unlikely.

    Another reason for baldness on the belly is the roosting perch. It could be rubbing the feathers off if it's rough or too large.
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    All of mine brood in the fall.
     
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    It looks like feather pecking to me...Put a curtain on the nest boxes...When laying others are possibly pecking at her butt as she lays her egg....Up the Protein if your feed has a low protein content....Grower is great for that...I feed a 50/50 ratio of Grower crumble and layer pellets till one year old...oyster shell and granite grit at all times...

    Cheers!
     
  8. kle2684

    kle2684 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2014
    Love all the input! Here is a photo from today. Her legs are bare today. My last girl started laying today....not sure if that plays in to it. I have 3 boxes available and they all lay in the same box. Also, there was one egg way away from the box today. Not sure if I mentioned above, but I also started a new hay this weekend. Should I take I out of the boxes?[​IMG]
     
  9. kle2684

    kle2684 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2014
    Now she is very thin! Feathers are growing back...very slowly. She is eating, drinking and laying. I mixed in some feather fixer pellets with her layer pellets. What should I do now?? Separate her to monitor more closely?
     
  10. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    To me the skin looks nice and smooth and healthy, not traumatised or irritated, so my guess would be a moult rather than lice or pecking.

    Is she actually thin or is it just that she looks thin? Have you body condition scored her? It might be useful to start weighing her weekly to keep a check on it. It may be that she just looks thin because of the moult. She has probably lost feathers in other areas as well as this patch, which will make her look less bulky. Extra protein feed or treats like meal worms or scrambled egg or meat scraps or fish will help her regrow her feathers and gain weight, especially if she is continuing to lay. Making new feathers takes protein, as does egg laying. Most hens slow down or stop laying whilst they moult, so continuing to do both will take it's toll on her body if she is not getting enough protein.

    I appreciate that she is young to be moulting but some hens have a different schedule to the majority and it is just normal for them to be different! If she is acting happy and normal, I would monitor and up her protein intake, but not worry unduly.
     

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