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Hi  ... I have had my 6 pol ladies since October and all seemed to be going well........until just recently, when  I noticed that when Doris bent over she had a bald bum😮.  Unfortunately on closer inspection all of them have bare bums or at least some feather loss.  Have checked for red mites in the coop and it seems mite free. I do put powder in the coup regularly, so I don’t think it’s to do with mites.  The coop was advertised as being able to have up to 8 hens so should be big enough for them.  One other thing I’ve noticed is they don’t eat many of their layers pellets.....would that be because they have a bowl of scraps most mornings, also a slow release pecker thing with corn in and a cabbage or broccoli hung up most days. They also,have a pecker block hanging up. Do you think that’s too much treats so that they don’t want to eat the pellets??.   All help and advice would be much appreciated.

thank you 

lin

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That is definitely a lot of treats to be honest. Greens and such are a good part of a diet, but hens are like toddlers: If there are biscuits around, they definitely don't want to eat their supper. If you want them to eat more layer pellets, then you need to limit their other food for the most part. Mine will always prefer mixed feed over any layer pellets. On the other hand do pecker blocks and greens provide a bit of stimulation and distraction too.

Check your hens for mites and lice too. Red mites don't often cause feather loss, but lice will and those live on your hens. Are only their bottoms bald and have you found an abundance of feathers recently? Mine have been moulting a lot the last few weeks, so it could be that too.

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If you can work out who the pecker is you can put a bumper bit on them.

I would stick to just giving them layers pellets for most of the day and then a little bit of treats later in the day.

I can see that giving them cabbage and broccoli could be seen as a boredom breaker but I think you need to give them some more fun.

Give them branches to perch on, upside down flower pots, a dust bath etc.

And, if you give them treats, make them work for them by hiding it under bedding and stuff, but only a little bit.

 

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I agree with what Cattails and Luvachicken have said. That probably is too much in the way of treats. A cabbage hung up is a good idea, but apart from that I’d just give them pellets and maybe a small handful of corn just before bed.

There are mites that aren’t red mites that live on the hens and you wouldn’t necessarily see them in the house, so it may be worth treating them for mites anyway.

The other possibility is that they’re pulling each other’s feathers out. How much run space do they have?

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Thank you for your replies.   The run is a fair size and they have things inside to keep them amused ..... a tyre and an old chimney stack to climb on they also have a swing, although I haven’t seen them use it yet plus a dust bath.  I will get some lice powder just in case they have them.  We also put them on worming pellets today.  I will say that they do not look unhappy but think they might when I stop their treats 🤪.   
 

lin

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They will soon get used to not having treats 😊

Mine have a small egg cup between the 2 of them just before they go to bed.

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Hi Luvachicken.  My 2 hens have gone off pellets as well.  A small egg cup seems tiny? Mine love porridge and they have green stuff and their favourite snack - Morio worms( three each stolen from the chameleon) occasionally. Am I feeding them too much? Usually they free range for part of the day but not at the moment.  I’m beginning to feel guilty about spoiling them! 

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It’s a choice. Some only feed layer pellets, which in itself contains everything they need. Commercial hens don’t get anything else either. If you feed a varied diet with greens and grains and such, it’s much harder to get the balance right. Especially since the hens will prefer sugary and fatty options over other nutrients. They would binge on McDonalds every day if they had a bank account and thumbs. 😂

If you feed mostly pellets, you are much more likely to get the balance right. 

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26 minutes ago, Girly said:

A small egg cup seems tiny?

Mine get a small mug of corn between 9 of them so that probably is more or less equivalent to an egg cup full each.

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Thank you Mullethunter. 
perhaps I should feed them a bit less! Although thinking about it I only give them a small handful of corn which they eat from my hand before they go to bed.  

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Hi everyone, this is my first time posting. I’ve an ongoing issue with my hens and am desperate to get it resolved. I have 3 hybrid hens bought in March 2020. One of them (Clucky) started to lose feathers from her chest in about August. We found a few (literally 3!) red mites in the house which we treated and treated and treated... the feather plucking continued. We took Clucky to the vets in Dec and they checked for lice (took a skin sample) and sold us a spot on just in case. Results for lice came back clear and we’ve checked the house in the dark, regularly disinfected etc so I’m sure it’s not a lice issue. Clucky now looks bright red and sore - the pecked area stretches down from her chin right underneath her. The other hens have some baldness and redness too but they’re not as bad. I’ve seen them pluck themselves (not much though), pretty sure they’re not plucking each other!  I’ve been trying to enhance their environment for them - they’ve a sheltered area, greens hanging up regularly, branches to perch on etc.  We’re now spraying each bird with Johnson’s Anti Peck.... but I’m getting desperate. I think this has now become a habit. What is a Bumper bit? Would this help? Any suggestions? Many thanks for reading. 

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I would indeed suggest fitting them with bumpa bits. It a little plastic nose clip that you fit in the beak of the hen, which prevents her closing her beak. They will still be able to eat from slightly deeper feeders, but not able to pluck themselves or others.

Have a look at this video:

 

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Thank you Cat tails! That’s really helpful. Watched the clip and I think the little clips are probably my only option now. Is there anything I can put on Clucky’s skin to help her to heal whilst she’s wearing her clip? And anything I can feed that would promote new feather growth. Thank you for your help, I really appreciate it.

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Anything with lots of protein. Sun flower hearts or a bit of tuna or wet cat food. Although the fish and cat food are not according to DEFRA rules. 
If I remember correctly some use a small amount of sudo cream or other perfume free cream. 

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Thank you Cat tails! Feeling calmer about the situation now I have a plan - really appreciate your help! 

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Thank you for all your replies and helpful suggestions.   I now realise that I’m not the only one with this distressing problem.  Although I hold my hands up and realise I was to blame😥. I now accept that I was giving them too much in the way of treats and scraps, therefore they were  not eating their pellets. So eventually they are not getting the nutrients they need🙁.  So I’m guessing that’s why the feathers are being pulled out and eaten?  We have now identified the main culprit .... Mildred!  She is now in a naughty cage 😮, she is still in the run so can she the other ladies and she seems to be happy .....even laid me a egg this morning👍.  We have ordered some bumper bits from omelet and once she has that fitted she can go back with the others ladies.  Fingers crossed this works.  Thank you for all your advice.   Now we have just got to eat cabbage every day as I have a fridge full of them 🤪.

lin

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20 hours ago, Cat tails said:

If I remember correctly some use a small amount of sudo cream or other perfume free cream. 

I use Sudocrem on anything that hurts or is red - either on me or the chickens.

We each have a pot of our own :wink:

If you use it on them though, try to use it just before they go to bed, and not too much because sometimes they like to nibble it a bit.

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