Like any birds, your chickens can be susceptible to a number of pests, diseases, and disorders. Probably the most common problems you will encounter are mites and lice.
Red mites lodge in the feathers and can cause hens to shed their feathers around the rumps. If you suspect your hens have mites, dust them with a suitable red mite powder to remove them. Equally important, remove all bedding immediately and scrub down your hen house to remove any mites that might be resident.
The same applies to biting lice, which lay their eggs at the base of chicken’s feathers. Again, dust all your chickens with powder, regardless of if they are showing symptoms or not, remove all bedding and give the hen house a really good clean. Lice can exist for up to 5 days without a host bird, and reproduce in just 3 weeks, so repeat the treatment in 7-10 days.
Don’t confuse chickens losing their feathers due to ill health with their natural, annual moult. Hens lose their feathers once a year in the late summer or autumn, and usually stop laying during this period.
Chickens and traffic
Free-range chickens may look lovely, but they have appalling road sense, so make sure they are keep safely contained at all times. Sadly, the same lack of sense applies to garden machinery including mowers and strimmers, so make sure your chickens are safe in their house before mowing the lawn!