Cause of missing/damaged feathers?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 13, 2010
This week, I acquired 3 white leghorn pullets. I was told they are all about 1.5 yrs. They were kept in a coop without free range abilities or even a run. Their feathers were very dirty and greasy, and their nails were over an inch long.
They were kept with a roo that looked to be a Polish or Polish cross, as he had the "mohawk" of feathers like they do. Two of my hens are his size or smaller, one was larger than the roo.

The two smaller hens have broken tail feathers and are missing some feathers on their chests. I'm wondering if this could be from the roo being overly agressive with these two? Or maybe from a molt? I've bathed the birds; they had no bugs or mites. No other signs of illness, either. They're active, eating and drinking great, have nice clear bright eyes, no signs of labored breathing, etc.
Does the absence of these feathers raise flags with those more experienced with keeping chickens? The larger hen has no broken tail feathers and isn't missing any either. Which leads me to think it was an issue with the roo or pecking issues from confinement. But I thought I'd ask to make sure.

And just FTR, I am not introducing our RIR baby to these hens until she starts laying (and she's only 6 weeks) so they'll effectively have a nice long quarantine period.


10 Years
Aug 11, 2009
Bloomsdale, MO
most likely they are molting, It could also be from the roo. If you add some extra protein to their diet (cat food,) they will feather out nicely.

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