Buff Orpington missing feathers from top of wing

luckluckgoose

Hatching
Jul 25, 2017
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9
I just noticed my 2.5-year buff orpington is missing feathers on the top of her wing, close to her neck. I can see the "stems" of her feathers, but it's really "airy" there.

She's also less friendly these days (she used to be so easy to pick up), and haven't been laying for weeks now. I originally chalked it up to cold winter weather but now I see the missing feathers too and am not sure what's wrong. It doesn't look like there's blood there (except a tiny bit? I'm not sure) so it doesn't seem like an animal attacked her.

She's the biggest and dominant chicken in the flock (the others are bantams), so I don't think other chickens are picking on her. It has been pretty cold (below freezing) for a night or two, so I wonder if it's that and I should get a heat lamp.

Any ideas how I can figure out what's wrong?
 
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Wyorp Rock

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I just noticed my 2.5-year buff orpington is missing feathers on the top of her wing, close to her neck. I can see the "stems" of her feathers, but it's really "airy" there.

She's also less friendly these days (she used to be so easy to pick up), and haven't been laying for weeks now. I originally chalked it up to cold winter weather but now I see the missing feathers too and am not sure what's wrong. It doesn't look like there's blood there (except a tiny bit? I'm not sure) so it doesn't seem like an animal attacked her.

She's the biggest and dominant chicken in the flock (the others are bantams), so I don't think other chickens are picking on her. It has been pretty cold (below freezing) for a night or two, so I wonder if it's that and I should get a heat lamp.

Any ideas how I can figure out what's wrong?
If you can post some photos that would be helpful.

It sounds like she is molting. A bird that used to be friendly is usually more standoffish during molting since they don't always feel the best. They lose feathers for new ones to come in, they stop laying and sometimes their comb gets paler and shrinks.
I would not provide her with additional heat. If you have a coop/run that gives shelter from wind/rain/snow then she should be fine.
I've had completely naked molting hens in the middle of January with night time temps in the single digits.
You can add wind protection in the run or extra bedding in the coop if that is where she's hanging out.

Extra protein can be beneficial to molting birds as well. Egg, tuna or meat. You may notice that she is not eating as much either, mine don't seem to during this time.
https://the-chicken-chick.com/molting-what-is-it-and-how-to-help/
 

JedJackson

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rebrascora

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The "stick like things" are pin feathers which are her new feathers growing in. They are covered in a protective sheath which she will preen off when they are ready. It will take a few weeks for her to look better. In the mean time avoid handling her as it is an uncomfortable time for them and provide some higher protein treats like a little bit of meat or fish or scrambled egg a couple of times a week to help her through it. Moulting is an annual event and usually occurs in the autumn/fall but some birds start mid summer and others wait until the depths of winter. Some are quite subtle about it and you hardly notice whilst others look like someone plucked them overnight and there is a huge pile of feathers underneath their roosting position the next morning. Most birds will stop laying whilst they moult because their bodies cannot process enough food to make eggs and grow new feathers.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Here's a couple of photos. The stick-like things are on both sides. There's missing feathers on the back as well. Let me know what you think!

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1...?key=b1hONHFWUjl6S2pMQXBCN1dzaWxMb3lNRmpqU09R
Thank you for the photos!:)
It looks like she is molting to me.
She will be fine as long as she has protection from the wind. Let her decide whether she wants to take advantage of that or not.

I would just watch to see that she is eating/drinking. Sometimes they don't eat quite as much, but that's o.k. If she is still fairly active and not getting picked on I would just leave her be until she finishes the molt.
 

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