What is wrong with my hens?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Ash10, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Ash10

    Ash10 Hatching

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    Jun 12, 2018
    We have 20 hens and 1 rooster. Our Rhode Island reds have all kinds of feathers missing on their backs. We've checked for mites or lice but don't see any. Maybe we are missing them? Pur white rocks look healthy, the rooster looks deathly, but some of the barred rock are missing feathers as well. However they don' look as bad as our rhode island reds. Advice? Here are some pictires.
     

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  2. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    I assume your "rooster" is actually a cockerel (a male under a year old). Their raging adolescent hormones and lack of mating technique usually cause this sort of feather damage. I would recommend getting hen saddles for the poor bald girls. They will be his favourites or the easiest to catch and/or dominate. It is a good idea to check those girls under their wings as it is not uncommon for them to get hidden gashes there from his claws when he slips and they can get infected of hit by fly strike.

    When you say "the rooster looks deathly" what do you mean?
     
    Eggcessive, Wyorp Rock, Ash10 and 2 others like this.
  3. Ash10

    Ash10 Hatching

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    Jun 12, 2018
    That was a typo. He looks HEALTHY*

    He is 1 year and 2 months. I will check under their wings tomorrow. Thanks for your suggestion. We are willing to try anything.
     
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    I thought/hoped it might be! He will almost certainly be your culprit despite being a little beyond that adolescent phase. It may be that the red sex links (I'm afraid they are not Rhode Island Reds.... a common misconception) have weaker feathers and they damage more easily but my guess would be that he targets them more because they have bigger redder combs which is a sign of fertility. Your other option to getting/making them saddles would be to pen/cage him separately from them for a couple of months to give them a break and the chance for their feathers to regrow. Unfortunately broken feathers will not be replaced until they moult in the autumn but any that have been plucked should regrow if they are not constantly being damaged. That said, hen saddles may provide them with some relief from the sun on bare skin if you are in a hot climate. Best to make them from a light coloured fabric to reflect heat.
     
    Ash10 and Wyorp Rock like this.
  5. Ash10

    Ash10 Hatching

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    Jun 12, 2018
    I will be making/sewing hen saddles this weekend. We live in IL. I dont want their bare skin exposed to the direct sunlight. It gets pretty hot in the summer.

    I have noticed he (Foghorn) favors the reds. They do have a brighter comb and they follow him all over. We were leaving towards him being the problem. Just wanted a few extra opinions. Thanks so much!!
     

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