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Chickens wing feathers falling out - Page 4

post #31 of 37
Also, we had a hen who either had all her tail feathers pecked or she molted, but that was easy, as they all grew back beautifully!

We did have red and black stars (think that is what they were called). They had spots of feathers missing, like your photos show. One of them, we found to have a type of flea or mite. Then the others will pick the fleas, and eventually the hen has a red spot from the bugs or the pecking!

We have used a dusting powder, very carefully...also giving them dust bath materials-which they naturally LOVE!

This is most difficult here now, as we have below zero temperatures and snow that goes over the hens heads... I try to have a dusting box or two for them, and that lasts about a day or two! Which reminds me, I must refresh those for them, as the cold persists... The hens aren't willing to go in the deep snow!

Good luck!

Love the hens!
Our animals outside are: 6 Laying white leghorns, 1 Cochin hen bantam, 3 young black feathered chickens, 5 turkeys, 1 Cat, 1 ornate Box Turtle, 2 water turtles.

Reply

Love the hens!
Our animals outside are: 6 Laying white leghorns, 1 Cochin hen bantam, 3 young black feathered chickens, 5 turkeys, 1 Cat, 1 ornate Box Turtle, 2 water turtles.

Reply
post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by willowbranchfarm View Post

Here is a little bit about molting.



Chickens Loosing Feathers? Managing Your Flock's Molt
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Picture by key west chick

Why Is My Chicken Loosing Feathers?
You may wonder why your chicken’s feathers are falling out or why it has bald spots. Don't worry this is a natural cycle that chickens will go through called molting. When a chicken is molting, it sheds its old warn out feathers and replaces them with new shiny, clean ones. Both hens and roosters will molt.

Why Do Chickens Molt?
Chickens will molt when there is less hours of day light, their laying cycle has finished, or stressed induced. Molting also gives a chicken’s reproductive system time to rest. This process can be very stressful for chickens so keeping them happy and healthy is very important during this time. Getting new feathers also helps to keep chickens warm in the winter. After molting their hardier and more resistant to disease.

When Will My Chicken Molt?
Chicks are covered with down so they don’t have any feathers when they hatch. Chicks will have mini molts about four times, when they are 1-6 weeks old, 7-9 weeks old, 12-13 weeks old, and 20-22 weeks old. During the last molt, the tail feathers grow. Fully grown hens and roosters will molt once or twice a year in the spring or fall. This usually last 2-4 months but some chickens are very slow when molting and will take a long time. The hens that molt fast will only take a couple months. Molting usually depends on when a hen started laying. A chick that was hatched seasonally will start molting in March-April and finishes around July.

What Causes Molting?
The three main factors that cause molting are: exhaustion and or sickness, when their laying cycle is completed, (that means they are done laying eggs for a while) and reduced lighting.

What to Expect During Molting
Feathers are 80-85% protein and eggs are around 13% protein so your hen has to make a choice to put protein toward molting or laying, there is not enough for both. Because of this, during molting, laying stops in hens and fertility drops or stops in roosters. While molting, chickens tend to look sick or lose weight. Be sure to keep an eye on your birds when they are molting because they lose weight in this process and could lose too much and become sick. When molting make sure you're doing everything you can to keep your bird healthy because their immune system isn’t at its best during this time. Your chickens comb might look very dull and very small when they are molting which is normal. Obviously expect a lot of feather loss. Chickens that are molting can be very moody and annoying. During molting if your chickens have bare spots others might try to peck at the skin breaking it and causing it to bleed and attract more picking. If they have enough protein this shouldn't be a problem.

Feeding During the Molt
Since feathers have a lot of protein in them, it’s important to give chickens back protein. Some people don’t feed their chickens anything new while their going through the molt while others do. Feeding a high amount of protein like 20% and up or a Game Bird feed is a great idea (because it has a high amount of protein). Feeding this along with regular feed is a good idea. I also give my hens wet cat food, boiled eggs, and meal worms during their molt for some extra protein.

The Process
The feathers that are coming in will push the old ones out. Chickens will start to lose their head and primary wing feathers first then the feather loss works its way down the body. Your birds may have a hard molt or a soft molt. A hard molt is when the feathers drop out very quickly but don't come back for a while. A soft molt is when the feathers drop out and new ones come in soon after. The new feathers that come in are called pin feathers and look like this.



Here are the pin feathers. These hold the new feathers until they break through. The hard covering will falls off when the new ones come in.
porky2.jpg


Here is a pretty bad hard molt. This roosters wings, tail, and thighs are almost completely featherless.
berry molting.jpg
Pictures by zazous

Here is a soft molt which is what you will normally see. This is what all of my hens have had.
http://i1085.photobucket.com/albums/j422/hannakat129/gabbywentpuff.jpg
Picture by hannakat

Here are my three buff orpingtons going through a soft molt.
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If you have any questions please feel free to ask.


By WillowBranchFarm

 thanks for the pics. Now i know whats wrong with my hen.
post #33 of 37

Wow, Those are some pictures!  Yikes!

Love the hens!
Our animals outside are: 6 Laying white leghorns, 1 Cochin hen bantam, 3 young black feathered chickens, 5 turkeys, 1 Cat, 1 ornate Box Turtle, 2 water turtles.

Reply

Love the hens!
Our animals outside are: 6 Laying white leghorns, 1 Cochin hen bantam, 3 young black feathered chickens, 5 turkeys, 1 Cat, 1 ornate Box Turtle, 2 water turtles.

Reply
post #34 of 37
My 11 week old pullet Saturn HamFatter has lost a primary wing feather. Today I noticed another one looks like it's about to drop. Is this normal? She is not being picked on and shows no other signs of I'll health. Thanks.
post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoda View Post

My 11 week old pullet Saturn HamFatter has lost a primary wing feather. Today I noticed another one looks like it's about to drop. Is this normal? She is not being picked on and shows no other signs of I'll health. Thanks.

Young chicks go through several mini-molts before reaching maturity. It's normal.

post #36 of 37
Thanks Junebuggena. Once again your chicken words of wisdom have put my worries to rest! 😊
post #37 of 37

Just wait until it starts with the tail feathers in another week or so. That 'I was so sure it was a pullet' starts to have some funky looking tail feathers that will make you start seeing cockerel. Take a deep breath. It's just tail feathers about to fall out. Unless the comb is bright red, it's a pullet.

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