Chickens loosing butt Feathers.

Chickens loosing butt Feathers.

by Debra

We have 5 Hens...two have lost their butt feathers but, are still laying eggs...I have heard when this happens they quit laying.

They have been featherless in that area for at least 3/4 months with no sign they are coming back.

Do you have any ideas on what could be happening?....and could or does this effect the eggs, as we do eat them.

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May 16, 2011
Chickens Losing Vent Feathers
by: Countryfarm Lifestyles

There can be a number of reasons for chickens losing their vent feathers, however, the first thing I would look out for is cannabilism. It can happen overnight, and with deadly consequences.

Chickens often turn to pulling each other's feathers out when there is overcrowding or they are bored. It can also indicate a lack of protein in their diets.

Increase their protein intake by giving them boiled chopped egg and lessen their boredom by adding things for them to do in their cages. Throw down oats for them to scatch and eat. I have heard others having success in suspending cabbages for them to peck at. I haven't tried it myself, but it is worth a shot!

If you have a rooster he could also be the culprit of your chickens losing vent feathers. Watch him carefully and make sure that he is not fulling their feathers out when trying to mate them.

Other common possibilities are lice, fleas or mites. My guess is that this is your problem. Check the feathers carefully and look for moving lice on feathers or skin and for white or grayish egg clusters at the base of the feathers. They will look like white dust - very difficult to see. Treat accordingly.

You need to get right to the base of the feathers and so brush the feathers backwards in backward stroke. This is best done at night with a strong torch. In this case, she will be pulling her own feathers out because she is very itchy.

Finally, around a year old, chickens start to moult, and this includes chickens losing vent feathers. This starts during spring or fall, but should only last 4-10 weeks. Early molters drop only a few feathers at a time and may take as long as 4 to 6 months to complete the molt. However, in molting the feathers are lost from the head first, followed in order by those on the neck, breast, body, wings, and then the tail. So this is not your problem.

If the stools are loose as well, this is usually indicative of a bacterial imbalance in the gut. Give them plain active culture yogurt mixed with some dry oatmeal.

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