One of the issues that we’ve been dealing with this past month or so has been feather cysts. Jovi, our white crested black Polish, is our first crested chicken that we’ve ever had. Back in the fall he was attacked by another rooster that we had tried to keep. (Needless to say we found the other rooster a new home.) After the attack, I didn’t dare pull out all of the broken feathers in Jovi’s crest as I didn’t want him completely bald for the winter. I took a gamble and left them in there.
The problem with gambling is that there’s always the possibility of a bad outcome. In this case, it was feather cysts. A feather cyst is like an ingrown hair on a bird, only it’s a feather not a hair.
Feather cysts normally form when a broken feather shaft is left in and blocks the new feather from emerging. Sometimes the broken feather will fall out and let the new ones work through, but it’s a rare occurrence.
There are a few different ways to treat feather cysts. The first step that we had to take was to remove all the broken feathers that were left in hopes of avoiding another cyst.
The next three days we used a carbon paste to pull at much of the puss from the wound as possible. We also pricked it open with a pin to drain the puss. On the fourth day there was a scab that we were able to peel off to reveal the feather underneath. I didn’t take any photos of it, but after I pulled out everything from the cyst, and full feather measured about an inch long.
He’s had two more cysts since then, but both we’ve been able to pop and let come out on their own. This one was by far the worse. While I feel awful that he had to go through that, it was a great learning experience for us and now we know how to stop them before they start.