Could you tell me why my chickens have lost their under side feathers please? I have 9 birds and I had a mite problem last summer,I’ve been treating the coop ever since with shield. I haven’t seen any mites so far this summer,the birds are laying well,i feed them on layers and a small handfull of corn in the afternoon.I don’t know what the problem is and how to sort it out so please help me. Jason
Your chickens sound healthy enough and whilst the feather loss may make them look a bit messy, I don’t feel you have much to worry about.
If your hens are just coming up to a year old and went through their first moult last autumn, it could be their age playing a factor. Our older hens tend to maintain much better feather condition than the year-olds. If this is the case, time will be the best help in solving your problem as the next moult should see them re-grow much more fully.
Breed may also play a factor. Our hybrid Black Rocks and Black Rhodes tend to look much more tatty than our pure breed Marans and Barnevelders.
One thing that may cause feather loss on the underside of the bird is if they sleep on the floor rather than perch. If this is the case, you could try installing a perch in your chicken coop and encouraging your chickens to sleep up there instead – they may take some teaching though!
If your chickens won’t perch or your coop does not easily accommodate a perch, try changing their bedding. Chickens can be irritated by some types of bedding, particularly hay, so try replacing it with hempcore which is much less likely to cause such a reaction.
The other possibility is that your hens have lice or mites, though this is less likely as you are taking the right precautions by using Poultry Shield. Give your birds a thorough inspection, looking around the vent, under the wings and down the back of the neck in order to ascertain whether this is a relevant issue.
As well as Poultry Shield, I would recommend that you use Diatom also. This a 100% natural powder that you can dust your birds and coop with to help prevent infestations – as well as add to their water to improve nutrition.
It really is great stuff. Here are some of the things it can help with:
- Residual Red Mite control
- Natural Wormer
- Increasing digestability of the feed
- Helping in supplying adequate minerals
- Aiding in greater utilisation of feed value. It will save on feed as less undigested feed passes through the large intestine as waste matter
- Causing noticeably better health, less sickness and a faster growth gain
- No Egg withdrawal period necessary.