Why do my chickens look wet?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by misidawnrn, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. misidawnrn

    misidawnrn Out Of The Brooder

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    I am new to chickens. I have 10 of them and this is my first winter with them. 3 of them look like they have taken a shower and forgot to blowdry their feathers. They have matted looking feathers all down their backs. I picked one up and she isn't wet, just looks like it. What is this? They have an insulated, non heated coop and it hasn't been that cold here in Montana. It is 36 degrees now but has been in the 40s. Thanks.
     
  2. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They have oily feathers thats a sign of health.The feathers will repel water & keep them warm. They sound like their ready for winter.
     
  3. hipphop

    hipphop Out Of The Brooder

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    May 3, 2014
    Oh my gosh, guys. I have been so scared all day because the past two days my rooster (but none of the girls) has had a greasy, "wet-looking" back and I thought at first that it got cold and damp in the coop and dew had condensed on his back and its been too cold to fully dry...then I started reading that it could be signs of mites!

    But this post is giving me hope that he is just preparing for the cold weather.

    Do you think this is the case? Its his feathers on his back and wings - his vent looked okay, and his side feathers on his hips are a bit matted as well - overall he looks much smaller. Like someone sprayed him with a plant mist bottle.

    I am going to inspect him closer - he is a bit more feisty than the girls though. i am really hoping that all it is is oily feathers to keep warm. Any advice would be appreciated!

    Ryan
     
  4. hipphop

    hipphop Out Of The Brooder

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    May 3, 2014
    Did you ever find out why they seemed wet? My rooster had the same case - the coop is very dry - and none of the other birds have a problem - they all look soft and dry. I thought he was getting condensation from being closest to the window, then I started thinking something was wrong. I am hoping it is just what 7L Farm said. What happened with your "wet chickens"?
     
  5. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Chickens have an oil gland at the base of their tails. They retrieve oil from this gland with their bills and dress their feathers with it.
     
  6. hipphop

    hipphop Out Of The Brooder

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    May 3, 2014
    Thanks George. It just seems like a lot more "wetness" than I am used to seeing him have.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    When you said he looks smaller I wondered if it has something to do with a molt. When chickens molt and don't have all those fluffy feathers they can look quite a bit smaller.
     
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    And the new feather lay tighter and look slick and shiny.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  9. hipphop

    hipphop Out Of The Brooder

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    Guys, this is really helpful. My rooster was born last Spring and this is his first Winter. What you are describing makes sense about the molting because he is dropping feathers too. The wetness does seem so be on the base of his back right above the tail, and yes his feathers seem more slick and matted down right now. I read an article about northern mites and was panicking that he is sick. But the other chickens are not displaying this so I am thinking he is just molting or preparing for cold weather.
     
  10. KurtG

    KurtG Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sure sounds like molting tot me.
     
    1 person likes this.

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