White dusty looking head feathers

Coupon Cook

9 Years
Jun 3, 2012
I haven't been able to find this on the google machine.

I have 1 Rhode Island Red and 2 Red Stars

#1 they haven't laid a single egg in about a month
#2 we let them free range as often as possible and have plenty of underbrush that they love to go through. We've had them locked up for 2 weeks now in their coop.
#3 the coop was cleaned prior to confinement diatomaecous earth and a thick layer of hay was added to the pen.

So what I'm seeing is that all of them are loosing feathers on top of their heads. They do have some pin feathers coming in. But they also look dusty around the eyes. Like someone has covered them in soot. I haven't inspected too closely. but they come right up to my feet. and that's the best description I can give. They look dusty or sooty. I let them out today. I noticed one is pecking at the grass and slamming her head into the ground!? the other two seem just fine. any ideas would be great.
I would check them for mites first thing. Easiest way to do this is by going into the coop after dark, with a flashlight. Pick a chicken, flip them over and have a look around the vent area. Mites will look like tiny flecks of black or red pepper moving around.

How old are these birds? Sounds like they could be molting and that would put an end to your eggs for awhile. RIRs are good winter layers, so I'll betcha it's a molt, but could be a heavy mite infestation too.

Go easy on the DE. It can irritate the eyes and lungs when applied too heavily.
It was a moult. I couldn't get close enough to see them properly. They all three have tiny pin feathers coming out on their heads. All three... They seem fine though. thanks
I agree with Gritsar - I have had mite problems and the monsters get everywhere.. including the heads of chickens..... check the legs of your chickens - any raised scales on the legs will show evidence of scaly leg mites - treat with vaseline or cooking oil - mites in general need treating with permethryn - powder for chickens and spray the coop walls and any cracks or crevices too - the mites come out at night and take blood from their host - hopefully this a moult problem BUT mites can cause untold damage too!

Good luck


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