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Winter troubles. Ugly Comb and missing feathers.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ldelorto, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. ldelorto

    ldelorto Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2013
    Auburn Massachusetts
    This is my first winter with chickens!!! Just want to see if I'm having common normal molting, winter issues or if I could have a mite or bully issue.
    So, I have 4 girls, (in order of rank) 1 barred rock, 2 RIR, and 1 cochin. All through December and January they were laying, slowed a little but I was getting at least 2 eggs a day. Past week I have had almost none!!! We are fine with this but I want to make sure it's not part of an issue. Our flock has been pretty peaceful, but one of the reds (#2 in ranks) has a bent dry/ white looking comb, and is missing neck feathers. A few days ago it was a little patch on the back of the neck, today I noticed it is now all the way around her head, pretty much her whole neck. I don't know if Febuary is a normal time to molt or if it's a bigger problem. Temps have been any where from 10-30 in the day. And 0-10 at night. They won't step in snow, and won't leave the coop if it's below 15 or so, and have spent a lot of time in the coop (stress???). I'm getting worried and looking for some ideas on poor Gilda with the missing feathers. And I'm hopeing we don't have mites or frost bite!!! Here's a pic. Thoughts please!!!!
     
  2. ldelorto

    ldelorto Out Of The Brooder

    24
    1
    34
    May 4, 2013
    Auburn Massachusetts
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  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Most hens molt around 18 months, so it doesn't matter what time of year it is. There will always be an exception to this. If you are seeing a lot of loose feathers in the coop, it may be molting. Feather picking can be a problem in winter when they stay inside. That's why it's so important to have plenty of room in the coop and run. They need at least 16% protein in the diet, and during a molt or feather picking, 20% flock raiser or unmedicated chick feed would be good (with oyster shell on the side of course.) 24% game bird feed can also be used to supplement 16% feed. Some rocks to climb on and a hanging cabbage or flock block might occupy their time. Put some poultry vitamins and probiotics in their diet 3 days a week. A white area on the comb can sometimes mean very mild frostbite.
     

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