Abnormal feathers post molt. What’s going on??


Apr 15, 2017
Western New York
My Coop
My Coop
I have a 4 1/2 year old silver laced Wyandotte named Daisy. She had some feathers come in thin and scraggly with last year’s molt, but most of the feathers were normal so I didn’t worry about it. I read it could be depluming mites so I treated her with topical ivermectin just in case. This year it’s worse. The shaft of the feather comes in, but there are no “hairs” or feathery parts, it’s just the shaft for some of them. The feathers on her neck have some “hairs” to them, but they don’t seem to have barbs to zip them together and the feathers look frizzy. I know some feathers still have sheaths on them but when that falls off there’s not much underneath. She also has lots of bare spots. Here are some pics of her neck and head:

Here are her new tail feathers:

This is a feather that fell off recently, you can see how part of the “hairs” are missing- this is not wear and tear, this is how some of her feathers came in last molt.

She stopped laying eggs a year ago.
She has access to layer feed, grower feed, all flock, oyster shells, grit. They get vitamins and probiotics in their water.
She is the head of the flock and no one is picking at her, nor is she over grooming herself. No rooster either. Some of the affected feathers are on the back of her head where she can’t reach so I know she’s not doing it to herself.
She has supervised free range time daily. She in not itchy and has no signs of mites. No other chickens are having this problem.
I’m concerned she won’t do well in our cold northeast weather without proper feathers. What the heck can cause this?

Aunt Angus

Crossing the Road
Jul 16, 2018
Nevada County, CA
I very interested in this. I dont have any info to share about causes, but I have an old hen who had similar feathers come in last year, too. Some were just feather shafts with nothing on them.

I thought it was because my girl was a rescue who had been fed broiler feed. But, like yours, mine has been eating really good feed for over a year, and there hasn't been any improvement. When I posted about it on BYC, everyone thought she was getting picked on.

Maybe we'll *both* find out what the heck is going on with our hens!


5 Years
Apr 14, 2016
Berkshire, UK

I am no expert in odd feathers but it ties in with something I have been trying to find out about myself this week. I wanted to deworm the hens, however some have just moulted (feathers not fully emerged) and one has just stopped laying and looks like she is about to moult.

Some of the things I read said not to deworm during moulting or it can cause odd, kind of curly feathers because they are in formation. Some may not even come out and remain stumpy.

It may have no relevance, but I share it in case it does.

In my case, I have just ordered 3 lots of faecal lab tests to see if they need deworming now, rather than put them through it for no reason.

Good luck. I hope you find the answer and the girls improve.

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