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Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4244
Experience:  25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
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One of my chickens is pulling out all her feathers. The other

Customer Question

One of my chickens is pulling out all her feathers. The other one is not. They are free range all day and have been healthy. Her comb is pink, she does have a poop mess by her butt. She has been laying an egg everyday too. She has bald patches. this started about 4-5 days ago. Does sahe have mites or parasites? Do I need to do something?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  replied 6 years ago.
She may have a very severe enteritis, which can be caused by almost anything. Try to clean her bottom and remove the poop, it can cause a diaper rash-type problem.

Unfortunately there is nothing OTC that is going to help. You need a good diagnosis first. There may be external parasites, but they have not caused the problem , and safe an effective treatment is only available at the vet.

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

You can examine her thoroughly again, 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. Check all her joints for swelling, pain, and mobility.

She needs to see an avian/poultry-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Check this link 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 inquire as to poultry experience. You can also check here for an unofficial list.The expense for this is going to be a lot less than inefficient, ineffective, dangerous treatments, guesswork, and loss of the flock; not to mention possible implications to human consumption of tainted eggs. 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. I would very likely order a number of DNA tests for poultry viruses as well. Generally I start them out on antibiotics as indicated by the tests (I use a lot of human antibiotics that are injectable).

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.

The flock should be on a high quality pelleted diet with extra greens/pasturage. Overcrowding, cleanliness, proper water, environmental temperature, humidity, ventilation, photoperiod, and toxic exposures should be addressed. Check this link for husbandry advice. Check this for basic care, set up and maintenance.

She may need injectable antibiotics, calcium and many other medications. Act quickly and good luck.
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I took her to a bird vet who examined her and told me she is just molting and though it is the wrong time of year, he has seen quite a few chickens lately in our area (Seattle) who are molting.... could have something to do with the weather he thinks.


Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 6 years ago.
I agree--our climate has caused some very bad molting this year.