hens loosing feathers

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Marigold
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Re: hens loosing feathers

Post by Marigold » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:02 pm

I know you're doing brilliantly at looking after them, Dye. I hope that, if the bits work and once they've had a chance to regrow their feathers, they'll forget about eating other people's bumfluff!
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Re: hens loosing feathers

Post by dye29 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:28 am

ye i think they will , i did think of locking the hens in shed fully for a week in darkness then let out a hour a day to strech see if it would nock them off lay and concentrate on growing feathersbut i couldnt be that cruel
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Re: hens loosing feathers

Post by Marigold » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:05 pm

I don't think that would do any good at all, Dye. The thing that gets them back into active lay is the way the days get steadily longer after the equinox in December. Daylight, especially sunlight, stimulates their pituitary gland to return to the breeding season, ie, full feathers and egg laying. So shutting them up in darkness would have the opposite effect, and probably make them stop laying at all, besides being cruel, as you say. So this time of year it's good to give them as much light as possible, try the bumpa bits when they come, and concentrate on feeding them to increase their ability to grow feathers and lay eggs.
It sounds as if you might have problems catching 15 hens in a big run. (It'd make a good video, though!) You could try arranging a couple of seats ready, next to the coop for you and your helper, and going down after dark with a flashlight to pick them off the perch one by one, when they're asleep. Would save a lot of chasing around and stress, for you as well as them!
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Re: hens loosing feathers

Post by dye29 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:39 pm

just got my 30 bumpa bits and not to happy there hard to fit ive used all 30 and only managed to do 6 hens so had to order more they easy break and when you think its fit to hen good the bloody thing shakes it off
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chrismahon
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Re: hens loosing feathers

Post by chrismahon » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:52 pm

You need to warm them in hot water (40C) and use external circlip pliers Dye29. Positioning is very important. View the previously posted links.
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Marigold
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Re: hens loosing feathers

Post by Marigold » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:24 pm

Yes, view all the links in previous posts, and the Youtube video, Dye. There are photos of the hens' beaks showing you which part of the nostrils the bits have to go in. If you put them into what looks like a hole, but is actually a fold of skin below the hole, they fall off. And as Chris says, get the plastic really warm and soft. The Omlet guide to fitting them includes this paragraph;

"I have put the wavy bit in the middle inside the hen's beak (like a horse's bit, hence the name), and the two prongs in her nostrils like a stethoscope. The lower beak thus passes through the hole.

You have to pull the nostril prongs out a long way sideways as you fit the bit, and push the prongs quite hard into the nostrils. There is a proper hole where it fits well, and a thing that looks like a hole that isn't. The proper hole is the one at the back. If you put a bumper bit on properly, there is no way that a hen could get it off.

The secret is not to be too gentle. Remind yourself how vicious the hen has been, and do it quickly but very firmly, no nonsense.

You need two people. One to hold the hen very still, and the other to prise open the beak. You have to be firm and say "This hurts me more than it hurts you", and get on with it. But you can't do it on your own: I tried and failed. With a second person, it was easy."


It sounds as if you're realising why using bits is the last resort for most people, though! Have you got someone who can hold the bird for you, so you have both hands free to do the job? Well done to get 6 of them fitted. I expect you'll get the knack once you've done a few more.
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Re: hens loosing feathers

Post by dye29 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:23 pm

ye when i was doing them i noticed some fit lovely and most didnt got 50 on order so ill try again , is the middle part suposed to break because everyone did with me only split dead centre
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rick
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Re: hens loosing feathers

Post by rick » Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:04 pm

Sorry, there's something I just don't understand here. Chickens can get into the habit of pecking bum feathers, yes. Its a pretty dangerous habit as it draws attention to vents and any stray egg or even the act of laying. I'm not saying that isn't happening so some extent. But how do they peck them off the base of the keel unless they take it in turns to lay on their backs in submission?! (or preen them off themselves maybe?)
I really do think the red skin is just something that happens when chicken skin is exposed for any length of time, for some reason. When I've seen it it hasn't looked inflamed or broken - just red and when the feathers have started to grow out the redness has quickly diminished - first around the follicles and the new feathers grown without issue. If it had been constant pecking that had kept them at bay until that time then why would the pecking suddenly stop and let a forest of pins come through at once?
But you say they are pecking each other Dye, and not just pecking order stuff so... they shouldn't be doing that. Don't know why they make the bits weak in the middle - that is the place they break every time isn't it - like they might be designed to wear out there if left unattended maybe?
I'm not saying I'm right or anyone else is wrong - I just don't get it in this instance.
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Re: hens loosing feathers

Post by Marigold » Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:21 am

Well, yes, I agree, this type of feather loss has been puzzling us all ever since October, Rick, when Dye first mentioned it. Like you, I thought it was a strange area for all the hens to be losing feathers, hence I assumed it was some sort of infestation. However, if Dye can manage to fit bumpa bits on all of them, at least that will give an answer to the feather pecking theory. If no improvement by February, then it has to be something else. As they're first-year hybrids,and only losing feathers underneath, we can rule out normal moulting. It was a pity Dye's vet couldn't give a more informed opinion.

i've never tried fitting bumpa bits - are all of them inclined to break in the middle, or is it possible that Dye is getting faulty ones from his supplier?
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chrismahon
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Re: hens loosing feathers

Post by chrismahon » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:09 am

The middle bit wears out against the beak- takes about three months though. They can split there if the bit is opened too far, in which case they are scrap. But warming the plastic gently, as previously said, makes the plastic a little more pliable. Essential to be using external circlip pliers as well. They are positioned above the beak when the bit is being fitted.

Presumably these hens have perches at night and are not just roosting on the floor and in contact with something abrasive or chemical?
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