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Loosing head feathers

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

We have a 17 month old Rhode Island Red hen that has lost much of her head feathers over the last three months. We also noticed her back and neck feathers appear to be wet when they are actually dry. There are three other hens in a 36 square foot coop the same age as this little girl and none of them are showing signs of loosing head feathers, or starting their first molt. However, this hen may have stopped laying too, we just can't tell yet because we get three eggs a day in the winter when we used to get four pretty consistently. We have considered their diet and have them on Purina Layena Crumbles since they were 24 weeks old. Also we have not seen any bullying, or pecking on this hen she seems to be the darling of the flock. Any idea what's going on?

 

 

 


Edited by Egg Farmers - 1/9/17 at 8:38pm
post #2 of 3

Rhode Island Reds tend to have that shiny wet look to their feather normally. I have 5 old style RIR, and they all have it. My rooster who recently died, had the shiniest ones. See the picture of a rooster (not mine) below. It looks to me like she is either being plucked by a rooster, or by a friend who grooms her, but they can also scratch them out. I would look her over for mites and lice, just in case. Here is some reading about what to look for:

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

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

 

rhode_island_red

post #3 of 3

At 17 months, it is almost certainly moulting. Her face has also gone pale which is another sign. Her comb will probably go smaller, paler and dry looking too. Keep an eye out for replacement pin feathers coming in to confirm for certain. If they are all the same age, don't be surprised if the others follow suit and your egg production dries up for a month or two.

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