Feather follicle cysts are a type of cyst that has formed containing feather follicles packed with fluid, semisolid or gaseous material. They can develop in any tissue, but are most frequently found as hard nodules or lumps on or directly below the skin of the chicken.
What causes cysts?
Common causes of cysts in chickens include:
- Damage to feathers
- Genetic predisposition (such as the Silkie breed, due to their soft, downy feathers)
- A defect in the cells
- Blockages of ducts in the body which cause a fluid build-up
- Chronic inflammatory conditions
If damage occurs on just one side of the follicle, it can cause asymmetric feather growth, in which it is not able to break through the skin. As a result, it will curl back within the follicle and fill with keratin, instead of producing a feather.
Treatments for cysts
The treatment for feather follicle cysts varies depending on it's location, size, and impact on the bird's comfort level.