Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chicken Update

Most of our girls are holding their own against the cold, but our poor easter-eggers seem to be having a little more trouble, or at least I think it's the cold.  They seem to be going bald.  Not in the shaggy, messy, moulting kind of way, in the patches that look like something you got at the butcher's counter kind of way.  

I have scoured them looking for mites of some kind, and they just aren't there.  Also, It's only the easter eggers, so I'm left to wonder if it isn't stress from the cold.  The patches near their tail feathers they probably did themselves, but the patches around the neck I have seen them doing to each other.  

Poor girls.  Such an inappropriate stress response.  I hate seeing them like that.  

They're by far our most beautiful girls and, despite their feather condition, they're currently doing most of the laying.  

I went to Tractor Supply Company, and Agway.  Neither sells any balm specifically for chickens and it's a risk giving them something medicated that wasn't intended for Chickens, since they're so small.  Instead I've been applying bag balm, which is basically just lanolin.  It does seem to have helped a little.  

This week we also finally got a heated waterer, which should lower the stress of the cold on them.  I'm still leery of putting a heat lamp out there because It can actually have the opposite affect.  


  1. I have a friend that is a professor of kidding...I'll post a link to your blog and ask her if she knows what's going on....she however, teachs in Atlanta, so we'll see what she makes of the weather?

  2. She said she looked at the pics last night and it's probably a dietary deficiency, but without a full workup it's hard to say what. A trace mineral, or vitamin? Do you have a Farm Bureau office near you or a nearby university that teaches animal husbandry?

  3. OK - after much email discussion between friends here in Iowa -- the loss of feathers on the back can indicated too many rooster for the number of hens.

    Do you want gorey details?

    The loss causes other hens to peck at each other because the females are being mounted by the males too often, causes feather loss, then they peck at each other's loss.

  4. It might help your friend to know I have 8 hens (no roosters)3 australorp, 3 rhode island red, 2 easter eggers. Its just the two easter eggers with the feather loss. I suppose a dietary deficiency is possible, but why wouldn't the other 6 hens be affected? And since we have no roosters, i dont think its that either.

    Thanks so much for asking your friend tho! Lemme know if she has any more theories.

  5. Well, we tried...LOL

    My best guess is that different breeds of chickens, like different humans, have different needs. I am (sadly) in the city now, with no chickens. However, it's on my retirement list. I miss fresh fresh fresh eggs! I'll keep checking back and see if you find anything that helps.

    If you suspect mites, they do make a mite powder, should be available at your local feed store.