4 year old hen has never molted - what to do?

Chiquita's Mum

Chirping
8 Years
Dec 30, 2011
2
0
60
Hi,

We have a small backyard flock of three hens. The head chook, Chiquita, is our best layer, and has always been the boss since we got her because she just has a bossy personality. We're starting to get a bit concerned because she has never molted in the 3 or 4 years she's lived with us. She now looks very scruffy with bald patches on her tummy and broken wing and tail feathers. The exposed skin has turned bright red around her bottom. I've never seen her grow a new feather in her life.

We wormed all three chooks ten days ago and they seem healthy as far as I can tell, but Chiquita seems to be laying less these days, and is resting in a shade a lot of the time. Maybe that's normal because we're in the middle of an Australian summer, but the other two are far more active.

I'm wondering if a forced molt would be good for her? Can anyone offer advice?

Cheers
 

Minniechickmama

Senora Pollo Loco
10 Years
Sep 4, 2009
7,135
703
391
Minnesota
As long as she is eating and drinking, the only other thing I might try is to give her a little bit of a protein boost. She may grow back those missing feathers in the fall. I had one EE who lost a bunch of feathers to my dog. She was bald all spring and summer, but mid-autumn she sprouted new ones and is beautiful again. Her skin was very red like you described until they grew back too.
If she is 4-years old, it is just time for her to slack off on the laying. From what I know, they lay best the first 2 years and then gradually slow after that.
Good luck with her.
 

Chiquita's Mum

Chirping
8 Years
Dec 30, 2011
2
0
60
Thanks for the reply minniechickmamma, but I'm sure Chiquita is already getting more than enough protein. Our girls have free range of the backyard with plenty of grass, worms, and other bugs. Plus we feed them sausage rolls, meat pies, and multi-grain bread which we get free from the local bakery. They also have regular layer's pellets and shell grit whenever they want. Perhaps we are overfeeding them, but I never worried about that before because I thought it might increase their eggs.

Anyway, my concern is that she never losses feathers and consequently never grows new ones. She's had a same coat on for three or four years now, and most are broken and worn now.

Cheers,
 

Nonny

Songster
8 Years
May 16, 2011
601
36
156
Brisbane, Australia
You may find she's just not a heavy moulter. They don't always have a noticeable moult - some just get a bit scruffy looking for a while and the feathers fall out and grow back a few at a time so you hardly notice. (Kind of like human hair does).

My girls have tatty looking feathers at the moment (have done for the last few months), scruffy chests with just a few feathers missing, and tail feathers that look like they've been caught in the coop door. I spot the occasional stray feather in the yard, but certainly not a lot.

Another thought might be to check for mites/lice.
 

galanie

Treat Dispenser No More
10 Years
Aug 20, 2010
7,950
348
361
Colmesneil,TX
Your girl does grow feathers, it just never was noticeable before. Give her a little more time and you'll start seeing them regrow.
 

Highlander

Tartan Terror
11 Years
Oct 1, 2008
3,079
34
218
Prague
Chiquita's Mum :

Thanks for the reply minniechickmamma, but I'm sure Chiquita is already getting more than enough protein. Our girls have free range of the backyard with plenty of grass, worms, and other bugs. Plus we feed them sausage rolls, meat pies, and multi-grain bread which we get free from the local bakery. They also have regular layer's pellets and shell grit whenever they want. Perhaps we are overfeeding them, but I never worried about that before because I thought it might increase their eggs.

Anyway, my concern is that she never losses feathers and consequently never grows new ones. She's had a same coat on for three or four years now, and most are broken and worn now.

Cheers,

I would cut out the stuff from the bakery and just feed them the layer feed along with some hardboiled eggs now and again and see if that helps. It could be that they are eating too much pie and not enough nutritious food (don't we all??). Good luck!​
 

zazouse

Crowing
10 Years
Sep 7, 2009
11,008
753
406
Southeast texas
I have a 3 year old blind hen that has never molted.
She always looks beautiful and gives me an egg almost every day.
 
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