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jackets for featherless chickens?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hello!
I have eight chickens- all girls (three rir, two black marans, one easter egger, and two bantam frizzles). They all came to me from two people in the area who could no longer care for them. The rhode island reds and marans all came to me perfectly healthy, but the frizzles and the easter egger both came from the same person who was keeping them with several really big roos who had totally ripped up the poor little helpless frizzles, and had put some nice scratches in the EE. At first I kept those three isolated until all their scars healed up, and then I slowly integrated them in with the other hens- they had yet to grow back their feathers. So two months after having them and the EE and one of the frizzles looked totally normal again, but poor little nato (short for tornado... cause of the swirly feathers) has yet to really grow any back. After lots of desperate internet searching I learned that some offspring from a frizzlexfrizzle can have feathering problems... and looking closer I noticed that she did have a couple of new feathers coming out, but they were facing different directions and it didn't look like it had with my other frizzle, whose feathers from certain areas kind of all came back at once. So... just guessing... but i'm thinking this no feathers thing might be kind of permanent with her.
I bought the "hen saver" jacket for her in "alaska"- it essentially covers her back and the tops of her wings (I did this mainly because I was worried about her getting too cold). I tried putting it on her for about two weeks, but she just kept pulling it off over and over again. In addition... she started doing this weird backward walk thing trying to get it off (which the company did mention could happen). now that I have given up with keeping it on, she has continued to do the backwards running thing every once in a while. I have been covering her with a thick towel at night to keep her warm (it doesn't drop below 45 where I am in cali right now), but I was hoping other people had some better ideas for her? THanks!

post #2 of 3

Hey,  I have had wonderful luck with making my own "chicken aprons" or chicken saddles" what ever you wish to call them. It sounds similiar to your jacket.  Some hens do like you said, walk backwards.  But after a short time, they figure it all out.  I have had to tie it under their neck sort of like a cape.  And tht seems to work.  Course, I have to retie it from time to time.  I find these work fabulously until they grow back their feathers.  My hens seemed to grow them back in time with when their next molt has finished.  So long periods of time.  Even if they are missing lots of feathers on their back, they don't seem to grow back until they go into their regular molt and out the other side.  Then ooooo pretty chickens.  I leave the apron on until the pin feathers are pretty good size.  Good luck

post #3 of 3

I had bald birds in -10 degree temps last winter- not intentionally, I just had a terrible roo and several feather pickers.  I used fleece saddles on the 2 worst picked and smallest girls, but the rest did just fine without.  If your temps do not get below 45 degrees your chickens are not going to be bothered at all.  Even the bald frizzle.  I wouldn't worry about it. 

If you still worry then you may try a less elaborate jacket (or a saddle) that fits tightly across the back, but doesn't cover the wings.  I think the wing interference may be messing with your bird's spatial perception.  Birds don't normally expect anything to be chronically on their wings.  A well-fitted saddle shouldn't be noticeable to the bird, and will offer enough cover to keep warm.

Good luck.

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