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Chickens: are bald..flock..Feathers just aret coming back!

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Chickens are bald on back...
Chickens are bald on back and around bottom. Not all of the flock. Feathers just are't coming back! What is causing this?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Bird Veterinary
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Answered in 2 hours by:
6/12/2010
Bird Veterinarian: Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian replied 8 years ago
Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4,244
Experience: 25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
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Feather issues can be caused by a multitude of things, including bacterial skin infection, viruses, fungal infections, allergies, metal poisoning, hormonal flux, flock pecking order issues, psychological or combinations of these factors. The difficulty is diagnosing the problems and assigning an intelligent treatment plan. Your vet will want to run a number of tests so that appropriate medications can be prescribed.

Nutrition and crowding are very important factors, they should be on high quality laying hen pellets and leafy greens/pasturage. They may have external and/or internal parasites.

You are going to need local help on this, and a scientific and solid diagnosis to find safe and effective treatment.

You will have to catch each hen, including the ones with no outward signs.You can examine her thoroughly, including opening the mouth and having a good look in there for mucus, redness, masses or anything else unusual. You can take her temperature gently with a rectal thermometer. Anything above 105F/40C is significant. Palpate the tummy for an egg, fluid, lumps or anything else.

Move the bird indoors to an aquarium, box or carrier with soft towels in the bottom, no perch, and food and water in low bowls that she can reach easily. Put the whole thing on a heating pad on low or medium. Keep her partially covered, warm and quiet.

Do not try to force food or water. You can offer warm cooked rice, pancakes, cornbread, grapes, melon, greens in addition to normal food. Transport as soon as possible.
She needs to see an avian/poultry-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Check the link http://www.aav.org/association/index.php?content=activeMembersList for members of AAV in your area or call your regular vet and see who they recommend; ask if they really have worked with birds a lot and especially inquires as to poultry experience. Many states/governments have poultry diagnostic labs that charge very reasonable fees to test for common diseases. Because you have others and presumably use the eggs, it is important to have a solid diagnosis and treatment safe for egg consumption.


If she were my patient, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, for multiple parasites; bacterial culture and sensitivity of the feces and choana. Depending on the case I might do a fungal culture. Routine blood work is necessary to rule out other issues. Generally I start them out on antibiotics as indicated by the tests (I use a lot of human antibiotics that are injectable). I would very likely order a number of DNA tests for poultry viruses as well.

Pet/feed store medications and home remedies are harmful, ineffective, immuno-suppressive, and make them much worse and may interfere with the veterinarian's diagnosis and treatment. Do not use them.

She may need injectable antibiotics, calcium and many other medications. Act quickly and good luck.

Here are some sites of general interest:

http://poultrykeeper.com/poultry-vets-uk/poultry-veterinary-practices-services-uk/

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/about/

http://mypetchicken.com/backyard-chickens/chicken-care/guide-toc.aspx

http://www.brittonclouse.com/chickenrunrescue/

http://www.shopthecoop.com/chickens/links.html
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