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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7938
Experience:  35 years in general practice, including avian.
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I am looking on hens with red butts and missing

Customer Question

I am looking for information on hens with red butts and missing feathers we also had one pass away.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr. Bob.
I'm sorry to read of your hens' condition. have you noticed more feathers than usual laying about their housing or yard?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
no we haven't
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Okay, thank you. I must apologize, I thought I had replied to you while at home for lunch, but apparently the spell-checker didn't let it go, sorry. Are your birds confined or are they free ranging?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
confined
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. The most common cause of the symptoms you're seeing is feather eating, a form of cannibalism. It is usually started by one or two birds and spreads through the flock. You can identify the culprits by the fact that they're normal appearing. A protein deficiency is sometimes the inciting factor. Normal chicken feed uses plant source protein, animal source protein is of much better quality and can be easily supplemented by feeding one handful of dry cat food for each 5 birds, daily. If the situation doesn't clear rapidly, you may have to cull the only good-looking birds to stop the damage. This behavior can escalate to vent picking and cloacal prolapse (turning inside out of the cloaca and even the oviduct), an often fatal condition. As I mentioned earlier, this behavior can spread, so prompt effective measures are called for to prevent substantial losses from occurring. Hopefully, you'll be able to stop the feather eating and your birds will soon be looking as they should, but if you should have any further questions, please let me know. Kind regards, *****
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Sorry for the delay, I was in surgery, then went directly to lunch and missed your reply.
Are these confined or free range birds?