Causes of Feather Loss?


11 Years
Jun 11, 2008
Front Range, Colorado
What are some reasons for feather loss? I had a bought of mites a few weeks back, everyone was treated, and I keep checking everyone and don't see mites anymore. Out of 25 hens, I'm getting an egg a day. I keep seeing tons of feathers all over the place. I'm feeding them BOS, and vitamins hoping that will help. I have 2 hens who recently regrew all of their head feathers, so I'm wondering if they're moulting. They're eating normally, so I'm wondering what could be causing this?

Well if they're missing a lot of feathers for whatever reason, then that's probably why you're not getting eggs. Feathers require protein to grow, so all their "protein energy" is going toward that. So why the feather loss? Could be molting. You're sure the mites are gone??? Have you ever seen them picking/pecking on each other or pulling out their own feathers? Up their protein...with a high protein feed, eggs, salmon, etc. Hopefully they'll get their feathers back soon and back on track with egg laying!
Thank you both for your help! You think you know a lot about chickens, and then they throw you for a loop. I'm not seeing them picking at eachother or themselves, so I'm pretty sure the mites are gone. I think some of them may be moulting then. I have at least 4 who have gotten all new head feathers, and now I'm noticing that I'm seeing their feathers in the coop. Have to pick one of the coldest, snowiest weeks of times of the year to do this!!

Thank you again, Sonja
It is possible that they are moulting and there may still be some mites around.

I don't know how or what you did for the mite treatment so I'll assume you followed the directions and that you did actually get rid of the mites.

So I'll ramble on about feed for moulting birds.

If you are thinking that BOSS is really going to up their protein level you might want to check the analysis block on the bag. Frequently it is no higher than normal 16% layer ration but it is higher than scratch.

You might want to look at cat kibbles, meal worms, game bird feed, some of the chicken growers, or sunflower seed hearts (some of these can reach 33% protein levels).

Always check the analysis blocks and make certain that if using an alternate feed that your birds get the other required things such as calcium, salt, etc... as free choice if not in the feed.
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