Broken feathers on breast: why???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SeaChick, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    [Mods- not sure where to put this? Not really an emergency and (I hope!) not a disease....]

    Advice???? Has anyone seen this???

    Our adopted Buff Orpington (had her a month or so) has a big patch on her breast (over the crop) where the tips of all the feathers are gone. At first we thought she was molting, as there's a little bit of feather loss elsewhere. But it's stayed the same. Plus, these feathers aren't falling out, they're BROKEN off. the bases, and some of the white fluff, remain, but the ends, and colored exterior part, are gone. You can see the broken shafts.
    I am not terribly worried as she seems fine otherwise, but it's ugly and seems abnormal so I would like to get to the bottom of it.

    I've looked for mites/lice and see nothing (plus we use DE and dusted her heavily when she first arrived).

    I have never seen her, not any other chicken, picking at the area.

    Does anyone have any clues here?

  2. firechicken

    firechicken Songster

    Jul 11, 2007
    Covington, GA
    Maybe it was just some kind of accident? Might have just gotten caught in a fence or something like that.
  3. Forest_Nymph

    Forest_Nymph Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    I noticed that on some of my birds too. I suspect that my new heated water containers may be the reason. It has a sharper edge than the one before....
    ...just a thought...
  4. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Hm.... good clues. You know, she is a lot heavier and less graceful than the others. I have never seen her get UP on the roost, but I know that in the AM she's the last one off it, pacing back and forth before finally jumping crazily down because she can't seem to just fly up and down easily like the others. MAYBE she has trouble getting up, as well, and scrapes her breast against the droppings board edge or something. I will watch and see!
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    It's molting! They do break because the feathers are old and brittle. All my molting hens have that to a degree.
  6. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Thanks Cynthia!!! That is great news. Olivia will be very relieved.

    I know that different chickens are different, but do you have any idea how long we can expect her to molt? She was looking pretty shabby already when we got her last month, but nothing seems to be happening very fast. She is 1.5 years old: her first molt? She stopped laying for a while when we got her here, but now lays an egg about every other day.

    Thank you!
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Depends on the bird. My BR Lexie is molting, has been for months, and won't quit laying! That obviously must be slowing down the works because her body cant keep her warm, grow feathers and produce eggs all at the same time.
    Here's pathetic sweet Lex, normally a beautiful hen:
  8. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Thank you Cynthia,
    I appreciate the info! I have been giving all the girls warmed breakfast lately that includes all the scraps off the turkey carcass from when I made soup, so hopefully that extra protein wil help her. I'll also start putting the Avia Charge 2000 back in the water, I think that's supposed to be good for molting birds. Should I feed her a little extra scratch, too?
    Anyway, thanks!
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Well, any extra scratch cuts down on the protein level, so it's quite a balancing act, keeping them warm, but the protein levels up. The layer pellets I buy right now are 22% protein, so much higher than the usual layer feed. That way, I can give them some scratch at bedtime to keep their metabolism up and them warm, but not compromise the protein levels.
  10. cookinmom

    cookinmom Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    Saint George GA
    SpeckledHen, you rock! Three of my girls are having this same thing, and I hoped it was molting, but wasn't sure.

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