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Jim

New keeper, first time chicken problem!

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Hi everyone,

I am new to chicken keeping, (about four months in) and the forum. I have three hens, and up untill now they have seemed very happy, laying away every day and in fine health.

 

Yesterday I noticed one of the hens had lost a lot of feathers around her tail area. I can see small black bits which look like the start of new feathers but as I understand it chickens don’t moly untill they are a year old at least, and mine are eight months I believe.

i can’t see any lice or mites in evidence but will have a closer look tonight. Their coop gets sprayed with chicken disinfectant once a month from pets at home.

any advice would be greatly appreciated, she looks so sad and raggedy!

 

The second photo looks like dried poo to me, but didn’t want to pull it off in case it was something else!

they have an 10x6 run, but it gets quite wet in heavy rain despite half of it being roofed.

 

thanks :)

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That looks like Northern Fowl Mite. The scab is formed over the area where the tiny mite are feeding under the skin; you will need a magnifying glass to see them. We treat that with Frontline spray which isn't licensed for chickens as it is a treatment for lice on cats and dogs, which has to be very carefully applied to avoid overdosing and can only be prescribed by and supplied by a vet in the UK (in France you can buy it in pet shops). So I think a trip to the vet is needed.

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I think 1% ivermectin will treat this too but again it’s not licensed for chickens in the uk - I have recently used it to successfully treat scaley leg mites. I’d recommend going to see a vet first too.

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It 'could' be NFM, which I can see with the naked eye, but I can't see any in the photo, they move pretty fast, so it isn't easy to catch sight of them. i would have to check her over to be sure. It looks to me like a standard bit of feather pulling to me.... that site is typical and that's a scab where the skin has been broken. It is SUPER important to stop this asap so that it doesn't develop into cannibalism when they develop a taste for blood.

I would suggest fitting a bumpa bit to the aggressor to prevent any escalation. It is worth checking them over for mites and lice anyhow, and putting a good prevention programme in place as you would with cats an dogs. As mullethunter suggests above, a chicken-savvy vet would normally recommend a spot on containing Ivermectin.

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