General information

Why chickens go bald and how to treat


Alopecia of chickens or, in other words, alopecia, is a fairly common problem in bird houses. Often the owners can not understand why their pets go bald.

Writing an unequivocal answer to this question does not work out, because there can be several reasons, and most often a couple of negative factors lead to such a consequence. Let's look at this issue in detail.

Symptoms and signs

May reach the point that the bird will remain completely naked. Inflammation of the skin and bruises is also often observed. In addition, feathers not only fall out, but also become faded and inelastic. It may also fall and fluff. Chickens of meat (broilers) and meat-breeding breeds are more susceptible to this disease, but this can happen with laying hens.

If you notice these symptoms in your pets, you should immediately start looking for the cause in order to eliminate it as soon as possible.

Baldness may occur in chickens if they feed on a beef thyroid gland for a long time.

Why is it so important to detect and fix this problem in time? The fact is that with the loss of feathers in chickens, egg production decreases, they gain weight poorly and the risk of getting various unpleasant infections increases. Also, cannibalism is often observed among the herd - the birds peck each other up to blood, and this creates favorable conditions for the penetration of pathogenic organisms.

However, do not confuse alopecia with seasonal moult chickens. With a natural molt, feathers do not lose their elasticity and silkiness, and only the lower layers of the feather cover fall out, similar to the undercoat in mammals. If you notice that the bird has started to “drop” the big upper feathers - this is the reason to sound the alarm.


Of course, baldness or alopecia can be the result of various diseases, but most often this phenomenon occurs in very different cases:

  • if the wrong diet is made,
  • when conditions of detention are violated,
  • seasonal moult
  • when infected with parasites.

Adjust power

As experience shows, the most frequent reason is a violation of the diet. Kuram, like people, require food that is rich in various vitamins and minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, cystine, potassium). However, this problem may arise not only from poor-quality food, but also when the chickens "do not eat up", so the owners need to ensure that the birds are always full. Calculate the required portion can be empirically.

The following tips will help you to adjust the nutrition of domestic chickens:

  • add important vitamins and minerals to feed (vitamin-mineral complexes for chickens can be easily found in any vet pharmacy or pet store),
  • at each meal, add sulfur or Glauber's salt - 2-3 mg for each individual (sulfur), 1 mg for each chicken (salt),
  • give birds feather flour - it will help replenish cystine reserves, which is necessary for the qualitative formation of feather cover). It can be cooked on your own, simply pick up and chop feathers that have fallen, and you can also use the horns and hooves of large cattle for this purpose,
  • in large volumes add greens to food - in the summer free walking will help in this, and in the winter - grass meal,
    Do not forget about important trace elements - manganese sulphate (6-8 mg per bird) and potassium iodide (3-4 mg per bird),
  • if alopecia is fatal in nature and the birds go bald by leaps and bounds, store vitamin B12 - it can be administered both intramuscularly and with feed. Such measures will help to quickly restore the feather cover, as well as improve the exchange of amino acids,
  • increase the dose of calcium, because it plays an important role in the formation of not only feathers, but also bones and beak. For this purpose, chickens are recommended to give gypsum, chalk, tricalcium phosphate and monocalcium phosphate,
  • to restore the level of trace elements in the body of birds, you can water them with a weak solution of potassium permanganate or iodine (once a day every other day),
  • reduce the amount of fat in the feed and increase the amount of protein.

These activities will help to quickly adjust the diet of broilers and layers, and restore their feather cover in the shortest possible time.

Improve conditions

Often, along with improper and poor nutrition, a violation of living conditions becomes the cause of alopecia. Often, birds suffer from a lack of vitamin D, which is produced when under the sun. This is especially true for those owners who contain chickens in cages. If it is not possible to arrange walking for at least an hour or two a day, then the house should be equipped with special UV lamps that will ensure the production of vital vitamin D. Partially, installing large windows can solve this problem.

Also in the chicken coop should be regularly cleaned and disinfected, which will help get rid of parasites, dirt, mice and harmful ammonia fumes, which are the result of the decomposition of bird waste. Not only the walls and the floor need disinfection, but also all the equipment of the house - nests, perches, feeders and drinkers, because the causative agents of the disease can be located there.

Another very important point regarding the conditions of chickens is the installation of ventilation. It will provide a regular inflow of fresh air, will bring an unpleasant smell. There are several ways in which you can make high-quality ventilation. They are described in detail in our article.

Rid of parasites

Another equally important problem, which may be the result of alopecia, is infection with parasites. Thus, chickens may be affected by the following pests:

Chicken mites are active at night - it is at night and chickens should be checked for infection. Ticks and fluffy eruptions form a substance similar to cotton wool - here they live and multiply. If such a "nest" is found, it must be immediately destroyed. Puffed-up food should be sought from the base of feathers. Also, all blood-sucking parasites, as well as lumps, leave traces of vital activity (excrement) on the body of chickens - they can be set on the skin of chickens by opening feathers.

As a preventive measure, it is recommended to lubricate the base of the feathers with vegetable oil.

In addition, ash baths will help to get rid of bloodsuckers and puffy eaters - for this, large capacity should be filled with ashes and sand. In it, birds will be able to bathe, clean their feathers and get rid of parasites. Also for the best effect diatomaceous earth can be added to such baths, which is easy to find in online stores.

Often, the beautiful feather cover of chickens spoil the mouse and rat. Try to seal all the cracks, and even better make a concrete floor in the hen house - then the rodents will not be able to penetrate the home of your pets.

Treating chickens with vodka is a risky business that can end in tears. Read more about this here.

Do your chickens have constipation? Find out what to do in this case by reading our article.

How to avoid problems in the future?

If you have coped with this problem and your chickens are fluffy and beautiful again, or you want to prevent the appearance of alopecia in your poultry house, then a few simple rules will help you with this:

  • properly feed your birds - the feed should be enriched with vitamins and minerals, be high-quality and fresh, chickens should receive it in sufficient quantities,
  • adhere to the rules of cleanliness in the house - equip it with everything you need, regularly clean and disinfect,
  • worry about the hygiene of the birds themselves - set up a ash bath in which chickens could get rid of parasites,
  • take proper care of the hens during the molting period - provide the birds with peace, comfort, a sufficient amount of high-quality food.

Compliance with these simple rules will help your birds stay beautiful and healthy throughout life.

A reliable way to release chickens from parasites is to swim in a tank filled with a working solution of an insecticide - Butox, Diazinon or another drug approved for use. The release of chickens from parasites contributes to their "bathing" in wood ash.

Sulfur deficiency elimination

The basis of the pen is a sulfur-containing amino acid cystine, which can be synthesized in the body from methionine. The drug is contained in BVMK or premixes. The need for methionine is reduced if sodium sulphate is included in the feed mixture instead of chloride (salt). On poultry farms use meat and feather meal from fallen chickens. The use of chopped feather or crushed hoof horn in food is a thing of the past. The aforementioned methods are appropriate.

Causes of Chick Baldness

Feathery baldness can begin suddenly, but the process is activated under the influence of certain causes that affect the health of chickens for a long time. Violation of perio formation usually occurs consistently - first of all, the back and tail bald, and only then the head and breast.

Focal alopecia, lack of luster, increased fragility of feathers - signs of physiological problems.

Loss of down factors:

  1. malnutrition,
  2. poor bird living conditions
  3. parasitic damage to feathers
  4. short duration of walks.

The appearance of plucked areas in the back area, mainly in the area of ​​the wings, indicates a biased attitude to the rooster, who prefers to show his dominance by pecking feathers from the most favorite hens. If only the head is plucked out by the chicken, then in this way the rooster can show a gesture of disrespect if the chicken has done something wrong with it.

In the autumn time, the loss of feathers is considered the norm, since there is a natural molt associated with a reduction in the length of daylight. In this condition, feathers fall out evenly over the entire surface. Laying hens at the age of 16–20 weeks, including spring, may experience natural baldness. In the rest of his life, molting will begin only in the autumn period.

If the chicken bald wings and back, most likely to blame the rooster.

What is dangerous disease

Violation of the integrity of the cover brings dangerous inconvenience to the bird, which begins to hurt more often due to the disruption of the functioning of various body systems, including leading to a lack of nutrients in the body. Avitaminosis in laying hens, which donate most of the nutrients to the egg formation process, disrupts the reproductive activity of the bird.

For this reason, at first the chicken begins to nest less often (egg production decreases), and then completely ceases to do so. Such a hen is only suitable for slaughter in the future, although the loss of plumage in itself does not lead to death.

The loss of plumage also brings aesthetic discomfort: birds look painful and scare buyers away if chickens or eggs are sold on a private farm.

Alopecia can indicate health problems.

Particularly unfavorable is the loss of feathers in hens of the Maran breed, which is considered to be the most beautiful precisely because of its spectacular plumage (thick body covering and long feathers). The mechanism of baldness in this species does not differ, but more often it is manifested precisely because of lack of nutrition.

Important. If you ignore the signs of focal baldness, the process of loss gradually moves to all parts of the feathered body - as a result, the chicken becomes completely bald.

The cause of baldness is poor nutrition.

Ways to eliminate the lack of plumage in chickens depend on the cause of the increased loss of feathers. One of them is a disturbed diet. The absence of sulfur, phosphorus, cystine, iodine and calcium are the main causes of adverse changes.

Significantly enhance the immunity can be added to the diet of sunflower seeds, legumes, meal and meal.

One of the causes of alopecia is an unbalanced diet.

Mandatory components should be: corn, wheat and oat bran, barley, rye, millet. The percentage of buckwheat in the daily diet can not be higher than 10%. When the first signs of loss of feathers appear, specific substances should be introduced into the diet.

Introduction of complementary foods:

  • addition of 0.2 to 0.3 g of sulfur daily,
  • feeding 1 g of Glauber's salt (in the absence of sulfur),
  • dissolving in water potassium iodide or potassium permanganate.

If the birds receive a diet rich in microelements, the loss of feathers indicates an insufficient amount of incoming food. Having your own vegetable garden will allow filling this gap and giving the birds carrots, turnips, beets, radishes (preliminary grinding is necessary), which help to significantly diversify the diet and strengthen the immune system.

Council You can quickly compensate for the lack of calcium by adding eggs, river sand and chalk to the shell feed.

With vitamin deficiency can be added to feed the chicken feed sulfur.

Incorrect conditions

The lack of good ventilation, sparse cleaning and low illumination result in feathers falling out or insufficient development of new fluff. Elimination of impairment helps to quickly return the natural plumage to the hens.

There must be a small window in the hen house, as well as a hood, if there is often an unpleasant smell inside the bird’s habitat. Periodic disinfection of the floor should be carried out in order to exclude the likelihood of chicken infection with helminthic and other parasites.

Keeping litter in sewage, which is saturated with moisture, leads to alopecia in the hens of the cloaca area (zhopka). Constant contact of dirt with feathers provokes their removal from the carcass - as a result, focal alopecia is formed. To prevent the litter from being too wet, it is recommended to change it periodically or to dry it with fan heaters.

Other tips for normalizing conditions:

  • stabilize the temperature in the chicken coop to 22 degrees,
  • create humidity not higher than 60%,
  • eliminate drafts,
  • increase daylight hours.
The litter in the coop must be clean and dry.

An example of improper keeping is the creation of cramped habitats for chickens. Especially the lack of space is observed when growing birds on poultry farms, where they are kept in small cages or in maximum proximity with other relatives. As a result, chickens pluck feathers from each other, and also lose them in the process of constant contact with the walls of the cage.

Poultry farms also do not produce walking of farmed birds, which do not receive enough oxygen and sunlight. Understanding these shortcomings, the owners of the poultry farms are gradually moving to breeds that do not have feathers. For such birds, the absence of plumage is the norm.

Fact. Installing UV lamps in the chicken coop in the winter is an effective way to prevent baldness caused by vitamin D deficiency.

Parasites as the cause of baldness

After infection with the peroed, the chicken begins to lose fluff actively - the conscious owner in this case must take measures to destroy the parasites on the body of the bird.

Often the cause of baldness is peroed.

The most affordable way to eliminate parasites is to install wooden tanks filled with ash. Bathing in the remains of burnt wood, the chicken allows ash to get onto the upper cover of the feather cover, which leads to the death of the parasites.

What parts are affected:

In this process, it begins with the chicken ass, and only then goes to the back and other parts of the carcass described above. If ash treatment does not help, then you can buy one of the antiparasitic agents: Frontline, Neomostozan, Ivomek, Epicide A, Novomek. Insect-acaricidal powders are used to treat the place where the chickens are kept (up to 150 g per 1 meter of room) and the birds themselves (10–15 g per one feathery). For preventive purposes, powder can be added to the ash baths.

Suspicion of the presence of the louse may also arise for another reason. In springtime, chickens usually increase their immunity, but sometimes the birds begin to grow bald even during the warming period.

In the photo are hens struck by puff eaters.

The unnatural process of changing the feather cover is often associated with parasitic insect lesions.

TIP. After processing the birds, it is necessary to place new litters, and old ones to burn, in order to prevent re-infection with the louse.

Medicines for Alopecia

Restoration of healthy growth of feathers is mainly carried out by eliminating factors associated with improper maintenance or feeding of poultry. Auxiliary methods of correction may be some drugs.

Useful medications for alopecia:

  1. Chiktonik. A comprehensive multivitamin remedy that allows to compensate for the deficiency of trace elements in the chicken.
  2. Gamavit Immunomodulatory agent for weakened birds.
  3. Gansupervit. Water-soluble vitamins, including not only calcium, ascorbic acid and magnesium, but also retinol, as well as potassium iodide.
  4. Desi spray. Ранозаживляющий распылитель помогает устранить язвы, которые могут образовываться на месте выпадения пуха.
Для лечения алопеции многие фермеры успешно применяют Чиктоник.

Лекарством можно также назвать специальные кормовые смеси, ориентированные на восстановление перьевого покрова. Самый известный вариант — Оперин.