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Hen has lost most of her feathers, and winter is around the corner.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

We have a 3.5 years old white rock hen who has lost about 70% of her feathers due to mites.  We didn't catch them in enough time, but think they are gone now.  The problem is that it is almost October, and it's getting colder. We live in Portland, OR, so it doesn't get crazy cold, but I don't think she'll do well this winter with the few feathers she has left (don't think she has enough time to grow them back). 

 

Any suggestions?  Will she make it through the winter? (My wife is against getting her a sweater). 

 

Thanks for any advice.

post #2 of 8

Make sure she is getting lots of protein. Could the feather lose have been due to molting? Some seem to molt every single feather all at once. Lots of people have birds that molt really badly, in much colder climates, and they do just fine.

post #3 of 8

A sweater would be good for her if she hasn't grown back feathers by the time cold weather starts.  Or maybe your wife wants  to bring her into the house.

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post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

We definitely saw bugs saw bugs, so seems doubtful to be a molt. Esp. the way the feathers look ripped out. 

I guess my question is how cold can a semi-bald hen survive in? 

post #5 of 8

Is she your only chicken? Do you have other, fully feathered girls for her to snuggle up with? If she's on her own, she may need some supplemental heat in temps under 40*. If you've got other hens, than she'll be perfectly fine, even in your coldest weather.

post #6 of 8

This beautiful, sleek, glossy hen molted late in the year and turned into ...

 

 

this pitiful looking thing. In this pic she's already re-growing feathers, so the worst was past. If you look at the water behind her, it's iced over. This was in the late afternoon, so it had not gotten above freezing all day. She did fine, picked up laying regular in the spring. I'm down in Grants Pass, so our climate is similar. I think your bird will be fine, and she'll grow feathers back quicker than you'd think. I agree with boosting the protein in her feed. If you feed layer right now, change to unmedicated starter or grower, something closer to 20%.

 

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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post #7 of 8

First year chickens that molt will start their molting process around a 10 to 12 months after laying their first egg. Years ago I thought it was on their first birthday but that ain't it. Some breeds rarely molt due to breeding but my Marans hens will molt very hard and stop laying eggs almost completely. Takes about 3 or 4 weeks to get them back laying good and they look pretty with all the new feathers in about 6 weeks.    

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.  We do have one other hen who appears to be unaffected, so hopefully that will be sufficient.  She definitely looks a lot worse than that picture, with lots of pink, visible skin.  

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