Hello new to the forum, chicken question

wendeyzee(z5Wa)September 8, 2011

Hello, I am new to this forum although I have been around the GW for sometime now. We just recently were given 15 hens and 1 roo, the owners couldnt keep them anymore, the chickens came to us with some feathers missing on the back and a few missing on the tail. I asked these folks about this, being new to raising chickens and they told us it was due to the roo. I'm not feeling very confident about this as I have been reading forums, books & magazines. The chickens are about 18 mos old, still very skittish around us and won't really let us pick them up. I am wondering if they have parasites.

I would be grateful for any advice,

thanks, Wendey

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if the hens have parasites like mites, you would see the end parts of the feathers like the feathery parts have been bitten off. But if it's just the back of the neck has gone bald its really just the rooster because he grips the hen by her neck.

hens can also go through bald stages. One of our hens goes bald every now and then for no reason we can see and the feathers always grow back.

so don't worry and just keep an eye out. But if you can't stop worrying, you can buy mite powder that you sprinkle over the hen and that should help too.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 11:30AM
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When we were new to chickens, we got some 'free' ones, they were infested with every parasite imaginable. You could tell they had scale on their legs, because their legs were not 'smooth', they had scaley leg mite that pushed the scales out on their legs making the scales stick out a bit. You can see nit eggs near the base feathers by the tail, they look like 'fuzz' but they are nits, look dirty. Some parasites you can see if you quickly lift their wings so you can see under their wings near their 'arm pits'. They can have internal parasites too, but you need to do a fecal test for that- some vets can test for it. If their farm is dirty looking, especially if the barn or coop looks horrendous, that can be a clue that the birds can be infested with bugs. Not always, but sometimes.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 6:00PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Could be from the roo, it's in the right area (the saddle) for over-zealous young rooboy attentions...but you can learn more by observing them and knowing what kind of pen they were in. Overcrowding and boredom and can result in birds feather picking each other. So can nutritional deficiencies, specifically protein--deficient birds will pluck and eat feathers. If you see the birds pulling and eating feathers, up the protein levels in the food. Dry, itchy skin can also cause or be a result of missing feathers, so adding a bit of Vitamin E oil (get some at the drugstore, poke a hole in a few capsules and squirt the oil into their food a few times a week) can help calm dry, itchy skin. I would NOT apply the oil to the bare skin as oil fouls feathers and collects dirt, which can let the bird get a chill.

Ditto what was said before about parasites--I'd go ahead and treat them all for both internal and external parasites if they are looking in poor health or their prior place was a Chicken Hell.

On the other hand, if you see lots of new feathers coming in--like porcupine quills--it could just be a molt and the girls will be fine soon. A stress molt from the move wouldn't be unheard of.

Whatever the reason, make sure and offer them lots of room to roam, dirt to dustbathe in, fresh food, water and greens, and some extra protein--growing new feathers takes protein and is hard work! Live mealworms or crickets are like candy to chickens and are a terrific protein source, they LOVE them. :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 12:43AM
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