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Long term feather loss

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 


Hi everyone,

We have 3 chickens, just under a year old. For the past 6 months our bovan nera Henrietta has been going bald underneath. The patch is getting bigger with no sign of regrowth. Its not around her vent or tail feathers, although she does seem to be dirty there quite often. It's not sensitive to the touch for her. She's laying daily, is happy and appears healthy. They live in a large pen during the day and get about half an hour free range a day when we get home from work. They eat Fancy feed layers pellets that have 16% protein, with a small amount of corn and dried mealworms for evening snack. There seems to be no sign of eggs on her. They live in an eglu so red mite no problem, but we but mite powder on the nesting bars, nesting box and dust bath weekly. She baths most days when it's dry, but they are adamant on using one of the uncovered parts of the run so don't clean much in the rainy days.

Any one got any ideas? There are signs of small patches coming up near the ears now. They all get on well and there are no signs of pecking. Henrietta has always been jumpy, if you throw food she runs away then comes straight back, and she's very hard to catch as she's afraid of the big people, even though we handled them all daily when we got them. She just doesn't like people.

Thanks, Sarah
post #2 of 3
I have a Java who goes broody from time to time but just recently lost most of her breast feathers. I was concerned so researched it. Apparently when a hen goes broody (lays in the nesting box and tries to hatch a clutch of eggs) their body produces a hormone which causes feathers to drop in that area so they have skin to egg contact to keep the eggs warmer. They also sometimes will pluck their own feathers to speed the process. Apparently its normal. Broody hens will often go back to regular behavior after the gestational period of eggs passes by. I can confirm mine does but usually goes broody again later in the year.

It doesn't sound like your hen is broody but she may have the hormone triggering feather loss as if she is getting ready to (try to) hatch eggs. It's worth looking into to see if that's the cause first and not something worse.

Hope that helps.

-swede

Sent from my HTC6500LVW using Tapatalk
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by swedeNH View Post

I have a Java who goes broody from time to time but just recently lost most of her breast feathers. I was concerned so researched it. Apparently when a hen goes broody (lays in the nesting box and tries to hatch a clutch of eggs) their body produces a hormone which causes feathers to drop in that area so they have skin to egg contact to keep the eggs warmer. They also sometimes will pluck their own feathers to speed the process. Apparently its normal. Broody hens will often go back to regular behavior after the gestational period of eggs passes by. I can confirm mine does but usually goes broody again later in the year.

It doesn't sound like your hen is broody but she may have the hormone triggering feather loss as if she is getting ready to (try to) hatch eggs. It's worth looking into to see if that's the cause first and not something worse.

Hope that helps.

-swede

Sent from my HTC6500LVW using Tapatalk
Thanks Swede

I thought broody at first but she doesn't stay on the best longer than the others. She's out scrabbling all day eating and drinking and doesn't seem to go back in the nest at all. She lays first and we take her egg out within an hour and she's not sitting on it. She's not at all aggressive and I've only seen her puff her feathers up when a pigeon gets to close, but all 3 do that! We have wormed them every month so at least I know it's not that.
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