chicken feather loss

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by georgetown chic, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. georgetown chic

    georgetown chic New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Oct 8, 2013
    I have a about 9 month old Buff Orpington who is losing all her feathers. None of the other chicken have lost as much - she is basically without neck feathers (small stubs), tail feathers, and some feathers missing on her wings and the rest of her body - a sad sight. Ok, I am new at this and so I have read everything I can on the subject of feather loss, and it seems that this might be a natural process - I looked for mites and pocks and did not find anything like that . However, what really concerns me is the fact that she is so stressed - one of the other chickens chases her and I have had to break up some nose to nose battles. I have found her hiding in the coop and refusing to come down from the nesting boxes for food and water - I finally brought her some food and water to her and she is eating. I have observed her pacing back and forth - I want to help her, but how? Oh, the other thing that might be a problem or not is the cold weather is coming up here and she is bare - how will she weather that - help. MM
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

    20,568
    1,165
    391
    Jul 24, 2013
    She might be going through an early molt. Most chickens molt at about 1-1 1/2 years old, but they can molt earlier, especially if they are stressed out for some reason. She should finish molting in about 2 months, maybe earlier, maybe later.

    To help her out, give her some high protein foods. Scrambled egg, wet cat food, and mealworms are all good ideas. Electrolytes and probiotics will help with any stress that she is experiencing due to molting.

    I've noticed that when my chickens molt, they temporarily drop in the pecking order somewhat. This might be why she is getting picked on more than usual.

    Where do you live?Chickens usually do just fine in cold weather, as long as they can get out of the wind and their coop isn't damp.
     
  3. cluckcluckgirl

    cluckcluckgirl Queen of the Coop Premium Member

    2,978
    262
    276
    Jun 16, 2012
    Tending to my chickens
    Sounds like it is a molt. The best way I have found to help them during that time is to give them a lot of protein. Feathers are about 95% protein, so they will definitely need it. She should be alright in the weather, chickens are rather smart and will find shelter from the nasty weather.
     
  4. georgetown chic

    georgetown chic New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Oct 8, 2013
    Thank you so much - helpful info - I will try the scrabbled eggs and worms - I read in one of the reviews to give hard dog food with higher meat protein (I put through the grinder) and she liked it - I have been feeding her separately because she gets chased out of the regular feeding area (ug) I did notice that she is a lot calmer yesterday and will come to me when I enter the coop - I am new to this wonderful world of chickens - and so much to learn. Thanks again
     
  5. georgetown chic

    georgetown chic New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Oct 8, 2013
    Thank you for your info and reassurance - I am new to this wonderful world of chickens and so much to learn. Their coop is pretty much insulated and I have put in a red heating light for our cold nights in the foot hills of northern California - I just don't like that she gets pick on - but I need to relax a bit too :) Thanks again
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by