Chicken problems

Asked October 18, 2020, 1:23 PM EDT

Good morning! We've got something going on with our flock of chickens. They all have lost feathers and, as you can see by the pictures, the areas are quite inflamed. We've soaked them in Epson salt, bathed, treated for lice and mites (although don't see any evidence of them), to are just not able to give them relief. I'm wondering if our soil might have a contaminant that is causing the irritation?

Washington County Oregon

3 Responses

The birds are picking on each other, a common "vice" in chickens. Feather picking is common, however why is starts and how to stop it is more difficult to address. It is generally considered a result of boredom or stress on the birds. There are no disease organisms that are responsible, with the exception of the "depluming mite", which is quite rare. With depluming mite, the birds pull their own feathers out. There are anti-pick salves that can be used will limited success. The best methods is beak trimming, removing of about 1/4 of the upper beak of all the birds; care must be taken not to crush the beak, rather nibble at it with a sharp dog nail clipper. Specs or peepers can also be effective. They are devices, like glasses, that block the forward vision so they can't aim.
There is on easy fix.

Thanks -
I wonder if we separate (or divide) the flock for a couple of weeks? Perhaps that might calm things down. There is one chicken that has "fewer" irritations. Is she the "culprit?

Would moving her out of the flock for awhile be recommended?

Moving will, of course, stop the current problem however it will probably return when added back to yhe flock. Chickens have a complex social order which we don't fully understand. They recognize other chickens in their flock. Sometimes the pecking order gets quite intense. If you move the hen out, keep her in sight of the rest of the flock. This may help when she gets reintroduced into the group.