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 Bald spots on chickens- help! UPDATE
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Woodswoman
True Blue Farmgirl

507 Posts

Jennifer
Altamont NY
USA
507 Posts

Posted - Oct 29 2012 :  4:59:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have 7 Red Star chickens we got in April. I've noticed that about 5 look like they have had the feathers pulled out of the base of the tail - where the back meets the tail, not underneath by the vent. Another is down to bare skin in the area - and it's starting to look irritated. One seems to not be affected.

I've tried adding extra protein to there diet (ground up cat food), in addition to the Southern States layer feed. They get oyster shell bits and grit mixed into there food, plus leftover veggies from the garden, etc.

The coop is 6 x 5, and has a pop door that opens to a run that is 6 X 12. I also let them out in the yard for a little while every day. They have two waterers, and three areas to feed, plus various perches, etc.

Any ideas on what is causing this, or how I can stop it? I'm afraid they are going to start injuring each other.

Thanks!

Jennifer
Farmgirl Sister #104

"Nature brings to every time and season some beauties of its own".
-Charles Dickens

Edited by - Woodswoman on Nov 04 2012 03:43:32 AM

SheilaC
True Blue Farmgirl

1855 Posts

Sheila
Vermont
USA
1855 Posts

Posted - Oct 29 2012 :  6:57:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
have you checked for mites or lice? Our old 4h leader taught us a trick -- get some diatomaceous earth, and put some into an empty feed bag which you've rolled down a bit to get to a height a little taller than your bird. Put some DE into the bag, put your chicken in (with the head out of the opening), hold the opening closed around the neck and let her flap! It does a good job of spreading the de around in a nice enclosed spot.

http://troutwife.blogspot.com/

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YakLady
True Blue Farmgirl

635 Posts

Natalie
Montana
USA
635 Posts

Posted - Oct 29 2012 :  10:19:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yep, sounds like pests could be to blame. Be sure to only use food grade DE if you do that! Pool filter grade can hurt/kill your girls!

Some people use Sevin garden dust, but that stuff is scary with the chemical components!

I hope you are able to figure this out, good luck!

~Hen 4316~ Just a farmgirl in Western Montana.
Starting a family and raising up a small ranch using natural resources.
www.mydoterra.com/thurman
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Woodswoman
True Blue Farmgirl

507 Posts

Jennifer
Altamont NY
USA
507 Posts

Posted - Oct 30 2012 :  4:06:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the tips, ladies. Do you know what I would look for when looking for mites or lice? Can you see them?

Searching the web someone said to put iodine on the bald spots - makes it look darker so they don't peck at is as much, plus it cleans it up.

Someone also said to smear petroleum jelly on it - protects it and when one pecks, they get it on the beaks and run to wipe it off instead of pecking.

I'll also try the DE - again, thanks!

Jennifer
Farmgirl Sister #104

"Nature brings to every time and season some beauties of its own".
-Charles Dickens
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YakLady
True Blue Farmgirl

635 Posts

Natalie
Montana
USA
635 Posts

Posted - Oct 30 2012 :  9:32:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, you'll be able to see the bugs moving around. Check around the vent under the tail, that's a favorite hang out.

Also, you can try the iodine. I don't know if Vaseline will prevent pecking, but it will help prevent frost bite on the bald spot!

Good luck!

~Hen 4316~ Just a farmgirl in Western Montana.
Starting a family and raising up a small ranch using natural resources.
www.mydoterra.com/thurman
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Woodswoman
True Blue Farmgirl

507 Posts

Jennifer
Altamont NY
USA
507 Posts

Posted - Oct 31 2012 :  09:07:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Anyone know where to get food grade diatomaceous earth?

Jennifer
Farmgirl Sister #104

"Nature brings to every time and season some beauties of its own".
-Charles Dickens
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SheilaC
True Blue Farmgirl

1855 Posts

Sheila
Vermont
USA
1855 Posts

Posted - Oct 31 2012 :  09:16:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
how about TSC?

http://troutwife.blogspot.com/

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YakLady
True Blue Farmgirl

635 Posts

Natalie
Montana
USA
635 Posts

Posted - Oct 31 2012 :  09:54:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Jennifer, call around your garden/farm supply stores. If they don't have it, they may be able to order it in for you :)

~Hen 4316~ Just a farmgirl in Western Montana.
Starting a family and raising up a small ranch using natural resources.
www.mydoterra.com/thurman
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Woodswoman
True Blue Farmgirl

507 Posts

Jennifer
Altamont NY
USA
507 Posts

Posted - Nov 01 2012 :  12:52:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I checked the chickens today- looked through the feathers to the skin, and flipped them over to check the vent. I didn't see any dark things crawling around - but I did notice that most of them had what looked like dandruff - white flakes coming off, and sometimes in clumps around the base of the feathers. Any idea what that is?

Jennifer
Farmgirl Sister #104

"Nature brings to every time and season some beauties of its own".
-Charles Dickens
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YakLady
True Blue Farmgirl

635 Posts

Natalie
Montana
USA
635 Posts

Posted - Nov 01 2012 :  2:57:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Was that just on the girls who have been preening themselves bald? Or is it a flock-wide thing?

~Hen 4316~ Just a farmgirl in Western Montana.
Starting a family and raising up a small ranch using natural resources.
www.mydoterra.com/thurman
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Woodswoman
True Blue Farmgirl

507 Posts

Jennifer
Altamont NY
USA
507 Posts

Posted - Nov 01 2012 :  5:38:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
All of them, but more on the ones with bald spots. Many of them have irritated looking skin around the base of the tail, or near the vent. Whatever it was really looked like flakes of dandruff. So weird.

Jennifer
Farmgirl Sister #104

"Nature brings to every time and season some beauties of its own".
-Charles Dickens
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YakLady
True Blue Farmgirl

635 Posts

Natalie
Montana
USA
635 Posts

Posted - Nov 01 2012 :  6:33:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What are you feeding them? Layer feed? Anything with omega 3's?

~Hen 4316~ Just a farmgirl in Western Montana.
Starting a family and raising up a small ranch using natural resources.
www.mydoterra.com/thurman
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Woodswoman
True Blue Farmgirl

507 Posts

Jennifer
Altamont NY
USA
507 Posts

Posted - Nov 02 2012 :  10:41:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yep - layer feed, and the bag says it does have omega 3. I was looking online, and now I'm wondering if it is lice that I am seeing. I may go ahead and treat them with the DE and see if that helps.

Jennifer
Farmgirl Sister #104

"Nature brings to every time and season some beauties of its own".
-Charles Dickens
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.Linz.
True Blue Farmgirl

118 Posts

Lindsey
Shippensburg Pennsylvania
USA
118 Posts

Posted - Nov 02 2012 :  10:46:36 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It sounds like they're molting. Giving them extra protein is good - cat food like you've been doing, or mashed-up hard-boiled eggs.

TSC (at least in my area) does sell food-grade DE - it's the Red Lake Earth brand. Even if you don't have mites/lice, it's still good to have some on hand and dust the coop floor with it when you clean out the coop and change the bedding, because it keeps the creepy-crawlies away. :)

"Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds." - Prov. 27:23
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YakLady
True Blue Farmgirl

635 Posts

Natalie
Montana
USA
635 Posts

Posted - Nov 02 2012 :  11:05:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Jennifer, can you take some pictures?


~Hen 4316~ Just a farmgirl in Western Montana.
Starting a family and raising up a small ranch using natural resources.
www.mydoterra.com/thurman
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Woodswoman
True Blue Farmgirl

507 Posts

Jennifer
Altamont NY
USA
507 Posts

Posted - Nov 04 2012 :  03:46:57 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Those darn chickens! I did the whole DE thing on them and the coop. Then, when they were outside in the chicken tractor, I noticed one of them pulling the feathers out of the others and eating them!! I had been watching them before, and they never did it with me there.

I've already been giving them shelled sunflower seeds, and ground up dry cat food for extra protein. I ordered a "chicken saddle" for the one with the bald back so she won't be cold. Anything else you would recommend to stop this behavior? Or do we have to get rid of the feather eating chicken?

I'll try to post pictures as well.

Jennifer
Farmgirl Sister #104

"Nature brings to every time and season some beauties of its own".
-Charles Dickens
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SheilaC
True Blue Farmgirl

1855 Posts

Sheila
Vermont
USA
1855 Posts

Posted - Nov 04 2012 :  04:07:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
you know you can make those "chicken saddle" things yourself really easily if you sew at all -- we made several for our chickens a few years ago, because a few of ours had a lot if not all of their feathers missing in the back/tail area and once it started, all the other chickens were pecking at their red areas. The little fabric things did a great job and the new feathers grew in wonderfully, and once they were grown back in they didn't have anyone bothering them again.

http://troutwife.blogspot.com/

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sherrye
True Blue Farmgirl

3775 Posts

sherry
bend in the high desert oregon
USA
3775 Posts

Posted - Nov 04 2012 :  06:59:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
hi there, i believe your girls are molting. the saddle will protect their back side. chickens molt in a pattern. starting with the head neck and down to their behind. extra protein and fat are it for sure. if it is their back ends then they are almost done. a fast molter is 2 to 3 months. a slow molter takes up to 6 months. hope this helps.

the learn as we go silk purse farm
farm girl #1014
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Woodswoman
True Blue Farmgirl

507 Posts

Jennifer
Altamont NY
USA
507 Posts

Posted - Nov 04 2012 :  08:23:36 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Would it be molting if it only one chicken with one bald spot on her back near the tail? Two haven't lost any feathers. and the other 4 have only lost a few. None near the head or neck.

Jennifer
Farmgirl Sister #104

"Nature brings to every time and season some beauties of its own".
-Charles Dickens
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YakLady
True Blue Farmgirl

635 Posts

Natalie
Montana
USA
635 Posts

Posted - Nov 04 2012 :  11:14:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If they are truly eating the feathers, that is a sign of protein deficiency. Are they actually eating the cat food? And what % protein is the cat food?

~Hen 4316~ Just a farmgirl in Western Montana.
Starting a family and raising up a small ranch using natural resources.
www.mydoterra.com/thurman
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Woodswoman
True Blue Farmgirl

507 Posts

Jennifer
Altamont NY
USA
507 Posts

Posted - Nov 04 2012 :  4:03:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yep, I saw them eating them. I put out a couple of handfuls of the cat food on the feed tray this afternoon, and saw them pecking at it, although they weren't wildly enthusiastic over it. The package says 34% protein. They also are fed the Southern States layer feed. I give them a handful of shelled sunflower seeds once in a while. Oh, and I use shredded cheese to lure them back into the chicken run after they've been free ranging - they just get a couple of little shreds each.

Any other high protein treats I can give them? I know someone said to cook eggs for them - any other ideas?

Jennifer
Farmgirl Sister #104

"Nature brings to every time and season some beauties of its own".
-Charles Dickens
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crittergranny
True Blue Farmgirl

1096 Posts

Laura
Lindrith NM
USA
1096 Posts

Posted - Nov 05 2012 :  05:00:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There is a vitamin mineral supplement called aviacharge that I have ordered from murray mcmurray. I add it to the water when I see my chickens starting to molt or look deficient, it usually corrects the problem pretty quick.
Laura

Horse poor in the boonies.

www.nmbarrelhorses.com
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Woodswoman
True Blue Farmgirl

507 Posts

Jennifer
Altamont NY
USA
507 Posts

Posted - Nov 05 2012 :  06:40:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks everyone! Here is what I'm going to try:

I ordered the supplement to add to the water

I'm adding more protein to their diet

I'm hanging up more things to peck at/play with

Ordered a saddle for the bald one.

Also: I separated the bald one from the other today, to give her poor bottom a chance to heal - it was looking kind or red. I'll just do it for a couple days.

I also might try separating the ones DOING the pecking for a just a few days each. If they get lots of protein, and are away from other chickens feathers for just a few days, I'm wondering if it would help break them of the habit.

Jennifer
Farmgirl Sister #104

"Nature brings to every time and season some beauties of its own".
-Charles Dickens
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Annab
True Blue Farmgirl

2900 Posts

Anna
Seagrove NC
USA
2900 Posts

Posted - Nov 06 2012 :  03:46:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's not very proteine dense at all, but you can hang a head of cabbage and chickens will go crazy! It's very enriching. I don't hang it, but ours will make a head disappear in 24 hours!

And since this is the season, chickens also love to peck pumpkins and eat the seeds and flesh down to the rind.
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Peg Graham
True Blue Farmgirl

252 Posts

Peg
Chesapeake Virginia
USA
252 Posts

Posted - Mar 06 2013 :  3:10:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
READ THIS:

http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/search/label/poultry%20lice


hugs~Peg Graham
http://nestinginstinct-peggraham.blogspot.com/
http://pinterest.com/peg_a_graham/
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