Why is my chicken missing feathers?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ZaneyMama, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. ZaneyMama

    ZaneyMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Two of my 10 hens backs look like this. What is wrong with them and what can I do to fix it? I don't have roosters, btw.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  2. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How old are they? It's the season for molting and most hens go thru a pretty big one at around 18 months old--some of mine look like they've been plucked for the stew pot and the coop looks like a group of teenage girls had the pillow fight to end all pillow fights.
     
  3. ZaneyMama

    ZaneyMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They're only 8.5 months old.
     
  4. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They can go thru a mini-molt their first fall, but I'd be looking for lice/mites or perhaps some feather eating/picking hens at this point. What are you feeding them and how much room is in their coop and run?
     
  5. SC_Hugh

    SC_Hugh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That doesn't look like molting to me, it looks like hens are pecking the feathers out.

    Extra protein is needed for feather production and maybe the others are protein deficient too.

    What kind of feed is she eating? They should be eating good quality layer feed.

    --Hugh
     
  6. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

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    Quote:yes it looks like pecking to me too. If you look closelyat the skin where they feathers are missing it looks redish and enflamed
     
  7. SilverPhoenix

    SilverPhoenix Bantam Fanatic

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    Quote:yes it looks like pecking to me too. If you look closelyat the skin where they feathers are missing it looks redish and enflamed

    Same here, I think this is likely a pecking problem. Make sure they're getting good quality food, are not overcrowded or stressed, and that there are no hens being bullies. It could be that the girl is getting picked on partly because she's molting somewhat, too--I have a hen right now who is having a big molt and for some reason the roosters wouldn't leave her alone because of this, kept chasing her all over the place, so I have her separate for now, babysitting my polish pullets. If you can separate this hen until she grows those back feathers back that may help.
     
  8. ZaneyMama

    ZaneyMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone. They are getting soy-free organic layer mash with 17% protein from fish meal. They also free range the yard for at least 2 hours a day.

    My 10 hens and 2 5-week old chicks have an 8' x 8' coop with a large run. I don't think lack of space is the issue.

    There is one Barred Rock who thinks she's the rooster and is not very nice. I have seen her run over and peck these two in the back. It must be her pulling out their feathers when I can't see them.

    How do I get her to stop?
     
  9. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sometimes when the problem is from a dominent bird you can take the bully out for a week or so and things will get better. When you put the bully hen back with the flock she'll be lower in the pecking order (usually) and won't be as likely to pick on the others.

    ETA: In the meantime you can put blu-kote on the bare areas. It will help them heal up faster and the blue color doesn't encourage further pecking the way red raw skin does.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
  10. ZaneyMama

    ZaneyMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. What is Blu Kote and where can I get it?
     

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