Broody losing feathers~Help


12 Years
Mar 3, 2007
4 hours from Sydney Australia
Hi all,
I have a sweet Friend who is waiting for fertilised eggs to arrive by post. they are 2 weeks late!
Here is the email she sent me. any advice would be appreciated!
We have been waiting for these eggs to arrive for 2 weeks so the broody has been sitting waiting on dummy eggs until they arrive.
Has anyone seen the feather loss before???
Hi Helen,
Just wanted to know, one of the girls is losing her feathers ( alot!) and she talks alot from her house. More so when the other girls go out to eat. Now I'm thinking that this is from stress for not yet having any chicks, would that be right?

I will get some dog food for them like you suggested as they are looking very skinny! I do put the food in their house with them because i am worried they are losing to much weight.

Thank you so much
Depends on where she's losing feathers from. They remove feathers from their underside to get better contact with the eggs, so if it's just a bald patch on her breast/belly, I'd say that's all it is. If those eggs don't show up soon, you might want to find another source. Do any of your local groceries have fertile eggs? Several people on byc have been quite successful hatching those eggs!
Dear Birdmom, thankyou for replying, I should have thought about that myself, I totally forgot. I will check with Emma to see where she is losing them from.
I emailed her a link to this thread so she is also reading the replies.
Thanks again
Let her know too, (or if you read this Emma, come joint the fun here!) that dog food for extra protein is probably not the best. It usually has too much salt for chickens. Dry cat food is the common high protein suppliment for short periods, or some 'flock grower' or other higher protein feed from a feed store if you feel they need more protein.

Chickens don't tolerate salt all that well, especially not on a consistant basis, so keep an eye on that.

It may also be a combination of broodiness, and normal molting this time of year. good luck with your hatching efforts!
I had several chickens sitting on muscovy eggs, which take 35 days to hatch. One of the girls started molting during that time. And it was a little early for that...

I thought that maybe the prolonged amount of time she sat in a dim, low-light environment might have triggered the molt.

Here's what I do with my broody hens, to make sure that they get enough to eat: I fill a little bowl with chicken food, then add water and stir it up to make a mash. The chickens go crazy for it! I get the broody hen out of the nest, get her moving around to break the trance, then give her the bowl of mash. After she has eaten her fill, I give the remains to the rest of the chickens. It really works out well for me. My broodies don't lose nearly as much weight as they used to.
You can also check farmer's markets or maybe a "whole foods" store near you and find out where they get their fertile eggs. People have hatched refrigerated eggs, but the hatch rate declines. You can also talk to your county extension agent. They will know somebody nearby that has fresh fertile eggs.

The feather loss could easily be just from the broody removing her beast feathers or maybe a molt as mentioned. But she should also be checked at night for roost mites. You will not see them during the day as they are off the chicken and hiding in cracks. They are dangerous to broodies since the broody is under some stress anyway and may not be eating and drinking as much as normal.

Good luck, Emma!

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