September 23, 2010 at 3:44 am #253280
Recently some of my 1 and 2 year old hens have developed an odd problem.
During the autumn molt, as usual they all moulted.
A few Australorps failed to re-grow their feathers in very specific areas, being the back near the tail and their bottoms.
They are loosely genetically related
They are penned with other breeds (Leghorns, Malays) but the Australorps are ‘top dogs” so do not subject themselves to feather pecking. Not all Australorps are affected. Not all Australorps which are affected are in the same age, or penned in the same cage.
6 months later the feathers have failed to regrow and these areas have a very angry red look. Chook behaviour seems perfectly normal.
I now have a much younger Australorp going the same way and a Rhode Island Red as well. The rest of the birds (about 70%) are all fine.
Normally one would say “feather plucking” except they are at the top of the pecking order and are not with habitual pluckers. I tried penning the affected birds in a 1 bird per cage configuration and saw no improvement in the feather development within a month, which seemed to negate the feather plucking theory.
The feathers which are on their bodes feel rough and slightly prickly compared to the other birds
They are all laying well which seems amazing considering the circumstances.
I’m wondering if they may have developed an allergy to their feed, which comprises scratch mix with molasses pellets, and occasionally a laying mash and a laying pellet. They are let out to free range a few hours every day.
Any suggestions?September 23, 2010 at 4:04 am #478694September 23, 2010 at 4:35 am #478695
definately not mites or lice – they are checked regularly for these and I’ve seen no sign of them.September 23, 2010 at 6:30 am #478696
Now I have to eat my words because after a bit of net surfing it appears that they may have depluming mite, which is microscopic and burrows under the skin, so you never see it with the naked eye. Its not a common condition. Having them never come out fully out of their moult must have been a coincidence….it doesn’t appear to be low protein levels or a dietary problem as the symptoms don’t stack up for those.
Treatment apparently is permethin (eg: Swift) and a pyrethrium based dog shampoo…if anyone has any experience with this condition I’d really appreciate your advice.
CheersSeptember 23, 2010 at 10:01 am #478697
i’m not sure how washing them will kill something burrowed under the skin?
when the school chooks had a huge infestation of the crawling type of mites, i tried all sorts of things (including cutting the eggs off, that was fun) before resorting to a spray of frontline on the backs of their necks. would that work, do you think?September 23, 2010 at 11:25 am #478698
we have 2 chooks with the same symptoms. we have separated them from the others cos i thought it was the rooster giving them a hard time but there has been no improvement in them either. now you have given me food for thought. i have given them moxidectin as usual at this time of year and they are off the lay anyway and are (what i thought to be) moulting.i wonder if the moxi will fix this type of mite as well. thanks for the thread sprite. will do somemore investigating.
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