hens self-pecking

dustcover

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Of the variety of 9 breeds in my flock of nine hens, two of them, the Speckled Sussex and Buff Orpington until recently have been extraordinarily good layers. Both are 1 ½ to 2 years of age. Just recently they have perhaps become broody. But what concerns me is they both incessantly peck at themselves as if bothered by mites or fleas. I’ve distributed diatomaceous earth in the sand on the coop floor, and the nesting boxes containing wheat straw, and in the dirt run. The other hens occasionally take dirt bathes in the run and rarely do I see them peck at themselves. Could the pecking have any correlation to brooding? And is there a method to relieve these two hens of the need to peck at themselves?
 

casportpony

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Of the variety of 9 breeds in my flock of nine hens, two of them, the Speckled Sussex and Buff Orpington until recently have been extraordinarily good layers. Both are 1 ½ to 2 years of age. Just recently they have perhaps become broody. But what concerns me is they both incessantly peck at themselves as if bothered by mites or fleas. I’ve distributed diatomaceous earth in the sand on the coop floor, and the nesting boxes containing wheat straw, and in the dirt run. The other hens occasionally take dirt bathes in the run and rarely do I see them peck at themselves. Could the pecking have any correlation to brooding? And is there a method to relieve these two hens of the need to peck at themselves?
Welcome to BYH! I hate to say it, but DE doesn't treat mites, lice, or intestinal parasites. Get some permethrin spray and treat them and their coop. Tractor Supply sells a bottle of Gordon's 10% spray for less than $8, so get it and a spray bottle, mix 5 ml per quart and treat your flock, coops, perches, nesting boxes, etc.
 

21hens-incharge

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It does sound like mites.
Broody hens are more likely to get them due to the reduced activity level and reduced bathing.
Everyone and the coop will need treated asap. You will have to do a second treatment to get the survivors. I am not sure what the retreatment recommendation is for that product.
I used a permit her in dusting powder and retreated at 7 days. I used a spray for the coop and paid close attention to the nests and roosts.
 

aart

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Have you checked them over real well for mites and/or lice?

Best done well after dark with a strong flashlight/headlight, easier to 'catch' bird and also to check for the mites that live in structure and only come out at night to feed off roosting birds.

Wipe a white paper towel along the underside of roost to look for red smears(smashed well fed mites).

Part the feathers right down to the skin around vent, head/neck and under wings.

Google images of lice/mites and their eggs before the inspection so you'll know what you're looking for.


If you do find some...check out this thread:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1134783/permethrin-spray
Don't know if that link will work...it should as read only....eta, yep it works.
 
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