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Chooks rubbing feathers off on tree roots?
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Marigold123



Joined: 06 Feb 2005
Posts: 224

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 05 5:22 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

Treacodactyl wrote:
How many feathers have they lost? Our hens look very fluffy, but if you pick them up and have a rummage they don't have many underneath anyway. Between their legs towards their crop is often quite bare on ours after a season.

Did you say they are one year old birds that have not had a full moult?
Ours look quite fluffy until they bend over to peck - then they look like they've forgotten some of their clothes!

I haven't rummaged around underneath until now, so it's possible that some of the feathers were out already, but until about 3 days ago they definitely didn't have great big bald patches. The bald bits are completely naked, no feather stubs, no nothing, exactly like they've been methodically plucked.

You're right, they've not had a full moult yet, nothing since they got their full adult plumage. I'm not exactly sure when that was, but they were hatched in Feb last year and started laying at the beginning of June.

Is this a problem with birds that are hatched very early? I thought I was being clever by getting them early, so they were ready to go outside just as the weather was getting warmer, with earlier eggs, too.

Marigold123



Joined: 06 Feb 2005
Posts: 224

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 05 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Judith wrote:
Could possibly be the roots then. Unfortunately the feathers won't grow back until they moult, so it is going to be difficult to prove conclusively one way or the other. I suppose if they are otherwise happy and behaving normally and the feather loss doesn't get worse when you cover over that spot, then you may have solved the problem.
I really hope that's all it is. At least the weather will be getting a bit warmer. I hate to think of them having skin exposed in the Winter.

Moulting doesn't happen until the Autumn, right? Looks like I'm going to have to knit them little tummy-warmers until the Summer, then!

moggins



Joined: 24 Feb 2005
Posts: 942
Location: Gloucester
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 05 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

When you've knitted the chicken body warmers will we be treated to a modelling session?

Marigold123



Joined: 06 Feb 2005
Posts: 224

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 05 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Oh definitely! I thought little surgical masks would be about right. They could go around the tummy and hook over the wings!

D'you think they'd appreciate a nice fairisle pattern, or should I go for bobbles?

Mrs Fiddlesticks



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 10460

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 05 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Marigold123 wrote:
Oh definitely! I thought little surgical masks would be about right. They could go around the tummy and hook over the wings!

D'you think they'd appreciate a nice fairisle pattern, or should I go for bobbles?


I've spoken to my 'girls' and they say that tweed is the new feather look this year in shades of pink or blue spotted green. Satin ribbon trim is of course de riguer but not a bow, sooo last year, press-studs were used by the top designers, as seen on the chicken-walk instead.

Marigold123



Joined: 06 Feb 2005
Posts: 224

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 05 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

One of our chickens already wears tweed. (She's obviously the more fashion conscious one.)

Most of her feathers are dark with an orange edge all the way round the outside. It's a very tweedy look. She only needs little thin spectacles and grey hair in a tight bun and she'd look just like my grandmother used to when I was little.

BTW, Good news! The chooks' feathers are growing back. Most people seemed to be of the opinion that they wouldn't grow back until they have their next proper moult, which I have to say, sounded right to me too. However, they are now walking around with fairly heavy 'stubble' on their nether regions. Not massively attractive, but at least they'll be covered again soon.

Perhaps the fact that the weather was so cold stimulated them to grow some more? It must have been VERY uncomfortable sitting on the frozen ground with their naked tummies!

Chicken number 3 never did lose the rest of her tummy feathers after I blocked up their wallowing hole, and I haven't checked to see if her smaller bald patches are starting to grow as well. but the other two are definitely on the way to becoming decent again when they bend over to eat their corn!

giveitago



Joined: 02 Jan 2011
Posts: 151
Location: surrey
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 12 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

All four of my girls have feathers missing either side of their breast bones. The skin looks pink and healthy on three of them but one girl looks a bit sore. They all have full feathers on their bottoms and everwhere else.

After reading this thread i think it may be the wet ground....its still raining. I think it may be worse as they have a tennis court size outdoor area which has knee high grass.

Can anyone concur its the wet? If so, I'll get some wood chips down for them. They dont teally have a dustbowl atm as its too wet.

We are mite free, i havent seen any lice and they've had their wormer/ tonic regularly.

Any ideas?

Woodburner



Joined: 28 Apr 2006
Posts: 2904
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 12 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

When hens go broody, they often lose a lot of feathers from underneath, but I think you'd have noticed if they were all broody!
There are also pests and diseases that can cause feather loss, but as it's limited to their undersides, the chances are it's simply due to getting wet/muddy.
If you've ever plucked a chicken, or looked closely at an oven ready one, you'll probably have noticed that there are areas with lots of feathers, and areas with none. In particular there are two areas, one either side of the breast bone, with lots of feathers, but nothing in between. When a hen is clean dry and not broody these feathers are spread out so that the ends meet over the breastbone. When they get wet the feathers stick to themselves leaving the breastbone sticking out. If they get muddy, they will stay like that even longer. I find they tend to get muddy when they are being trodden by a cockerel, so that may be part of a solution.

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