Jump to content

Recommended Posts

One of my 4 hens has a bald area which has appeared within the last few days. I have been working lates but quite sure it wasn't there two to three days ago. 

No one at home has seen any feather pecking or bullying. The only hen to have this patch is the most dominant hen. All 4 hens have been together for just over a year and are just over a year old. Never had any issues before. There is plenty of space, multiple feeders and drinkers, dust baths, roosting locations and nest boxes. All 4 appear healthy (excluding this) and all regularly provide an egg almost daily. 

They are fed a complete layers pellet (Small Holder Range) and have grit and oyster shell always available in multiple locations. 

I'm assuming this is feather pecking and not moulting. There are no signs of plucked feathers so assume they have been eaten. 

any advice on this issue is very much appreciated. 

IMG_20220628_094833.jpg

IMG_20220628_094838.jpg

IMG_20220628_094852.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Certainly not moulting because the base of the feathers are still in the skin. They have been pecked off and looking at the skin damage I would say she has done it herself because she has either lice or Northern Fowl Mite. Lice you can see on light coloured feathers, but the best indication is egg clusters stuck to the base of the feathers, usually around the vent. Northern Fowl Mite is particularly nasty because they burrow under the skin to eat. Look for more raw patches like the third photo. NFM will need a vet to give you a small bottle of Frontline spray and apply very sparingly, so one pump maximum directly onto the affected area and no more that two in total per chicken. Lice treatments you can buy in the pet shop; not licensed for chickens, but Johnsons cat or dog flea spray works. Just one or two spray pumps into the feathers around the vent and any lice that enter the treated area will die.

I might be completely wrong though and it is one of the others pecking her?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been watching them this morning and one of the hens has had a few pecks at both this one and one of the others. The offender was second in command previously but for the 15 or so months I've had them there has been no real aggression. None of the other 3 are showing any signs of feather loss. 

I've ordered anti feather pecking spray and tomorrow I'm thinking of putting an XXL dog crate inside their current enclosure (with all resources needed) to separate either the offender or victim to prevent it getting worse. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We haven't had much success with anti-feather pecking spray and also it isn't nice for the victim who then can't preen without tasting it. We use beak bits, which come in two sizes, 25 and 30mm. You are aiming to have about 3mm- 5mm longer than their beak; too much and they will struggle to eat and it puts far too much strain on the nose vents. 25mm is the common size, but we have used both.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bumper bits/beak bits are the best option.

I used to have anti peck spray - think it came from France at the time - it used to stink of a 1000 ash trays.

It never really worked.and both the chicken and I would smell for days.

Chickens are quite cunning in how they get the other ones feathers - I had Gemma, a dear little Pekin, but some how she managed to peck the neck feathers of all the other Pekins at the time, but we never saw her do it. Sadly, she passed away last summer but I do at least have the remaining Pekins with all of their feathers. I know it was her because she had all of her feathers.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's definitely pecking. Two hens are targeting two others. I've separated the two offenders whilst I wait for bumpa bits to arrive, not that I'm confident about fitting them. 

 

I'm puzzled as to why this began. I keep reading that protein deficiency is a common cause. Mine are on a complete layers pellet so will have to find a way to increase the protein some how. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You will need what are known as 'external circlip pliars' to fit them @Bluebell1985. They are an engineering tool. Warm the bit in water (about 40C) which makes them more flexible. You could use some fine nosed pliars, but you will need to pull the handles apart to open up the bit. Sure there are some videos around to watch.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/2/2022 at 9:16 AM, Bluebell1985 said:

It's definitely pecking. Two hens are targeting two others. I've separated the two offenders whilst I wait for bumpa bits to arrive, not that I'm confident about fitting them. 

 

I'm puzzled as to why this began. I keep reading that protein deficiency is a common cause. Mine are on a complete layers pellet so will have to find a way to increase the protein some how. 

I know it can be due to protein deficiency, but in my opinion it’s more like just to be a behavioural / habit thing possibly associated with a ‘feathers taste nice’ thing. 
 

Definitely go with that bumpa bit - they’re not easy to fit but not impossible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




×
×
  • Create New...