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Chicken has been "molting" for 5+ months?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

My 18 month old red star has always looked a little ratty.  She's at the bottom of the pecking order of four chickens, so she gets picked on.  But they have a lot of space (100+ square feet normally, plus they get to explore a 2000 square foot yard when the weather is good).  It doesn't seem like she gets constantly harassed, and I've never seen the others draw blood or pull off feathers.

 

Last October, she started looking like she was losing some feathers, and I figured she was molting.  The other girls started molting a couple weeks later.  But while the others stopped laying eggs, the red star never did. And she didn't lose many feathers at all.

 

Last month, she started looking like she was growing some new feathers, and she no longer wants me to touch her (she's usually the friendliest and calmest of the chickens).   And now, just look at her wings:

 

 

 

 

Is that new feathers growing in, or something wrong with her feathers?  

 

Here's another pic of her just in case it helps (her tail is pretty ratty):

 

 

 

 

 

I don't want her to be uncomfortable but I don't know if there's anything I should be doing, either.  I miss petting and carrying around my favorite girl!  She still follows me around (she likes to be close to me), but runs if she thinks I'm going to try to touch her.

 

I just recently cleaned the coop out completely, and check for signs of mites and other bugs regularly.  All the other chickens have long since finished molting and look good:

 

(this just happens to be the most recent picture i have that mostly shows the other three.  ignore the pokemon)

 

 

Anyone have any insight on the situation?

post #2 of 4

My guess is that she is now in her molt. But check her skin and feathers closely for signs of mites and lice.  She may have been feather picked before she molted, and sometimes it takes a molt to regrow those feathers. Chickens stop laying when they are molting, so if she was still laying, she wasn't molting 5 months ago. They also tend to feel a little puny, and are standoffish. Here are a couple of good articles to read about molting:

http://www.grit.com/animals/molting-what-is-it--how-to-help-chickens-get-through-it.aspx

http://www.nutrenaworld.com/knowledge-center/poultry/the-molting-process/index.jsp

http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2011/12/molting-what-is-it-and-how-to-help.html

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the feedback!  Today I looked her over carefully, and couldn't see any signs of mites or lice.  She was still laying eggs as of a few days ago (since all four of them laid that day).  Of all the chickens, she lays the most.  Like nine out of ten days she lays an egg.  

 

I worry she's not getting enough nutrients maybe?

post #4 of 4

If she is still laying now, and not molting, then the others may be picking her feathers. Extra protein might help. Here are some links to read about mites, just in case: 

http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/08/poultry-lice-and-mites-identification.html

http://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8162.pdf

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQf53ZJaBWWYk7a3wVq7Ix4xNoHfOCEHMF8R9AgfHq3fI9vEombyQ

feather mites


Edited by Eggcessive - 2/25/16 at 7:16pm
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