chicken loosing feathers

villiams

Songster
Oct 1, 2017
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101
Hi guys.
I have 3 chooks and recently two broody girls hatched 1 chick each. my blue laced girl is primary mum. she sleeps on floor of coop with chicks atm.
she is looking scraggly as, and both my other hens look fine. i cant see any evidence of mite/lice on her but noticed a lot of her feathers are broken off.
she is not on the bottom of the pecking order and i have never seen another chicken peck at her.
i had a recent mite/lice outbreak but dust the girls every week or second and coopexed their run and coop ( though they free range most of the day).
i worry that i either have an outbreak i can't get on top of, or could mice be gettingto her at night?
my two chicks are growing fast and look well as far as i can see.
any advice be greatly welcomed
 

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Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jul 26, 2008
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1. I would worry about dusting every week.... might make the bugs resistant.

2.what did you use to dust? I actually really like using spray since then I know I get it thoroughly through their feathers and it stays where I need it.

3.where are you located? Are you in Australia? End of summer for there. .. so maybe she is molting? If you are in the northern hemisphere it shouldn't be a molt.
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
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Agree with @Alaskan's questions. But I'd add one observation. Setting eggs takes a lot out of them. They sit tight for 21 days, not eating enough, not drinking enough, and pulling out feathers to line their nests. They lose a lot of conditioning and plumage. Then the chicks hatch, and it's not unusual for them to peck at her feathers, breaking them off and even pulling them out. She hasn't replaced the feathers lost to the entire process and the little boogers are helping themselves!

I'd up the protein a little bit....even a little canned cat food for a couple of days wouldn't hurt...and maybe switch the broodies' food to All Flock or Starter/grower, both of which are higher in protein than most layer foods. They aren't laying right now anyway. My Agatha did so well on All Flock or Grower and the chicks could eat it with no issues that I switched the entire flock over and they all got the same food. I had various ages of chicks, roosters, layers and freeloaders all eating the same food and thriving. I just had a side container of oyster shell for the layers. Can't keep all of them out of each other's food dishes anyway, so why buy separate chick and layer food when they can all do well on one bag?
 

FlyWheel

Crowing
5 Years
Mar 19, 2016
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+1 on the molt. Some chickens do it gradually, replacing feathers as the grow new ones so you don't really notice it other than the drop in egg productions. Others can look like they've gone a couple of rounds with a weed whacker.

You didn't mention if she's still laying. If she has stopped then it's probably molting. Get her some feather fixer feed, she'll be needing the extra protein.
 

villiams

Songster
Oct 1, 2017
66
53
101
Thank you everyone . This is my 1st year of chicken keeping. there is a lot to learn. I am in Australia and I am only getting a few eggs from the girls - havent noticed her in box so that could molting could b the money. Will up her protein.
Thanks again every one for the advice - I really appreciate it :)
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jul 26, 2008
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Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
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Thank you everyone . This is my 1st year of chicken keeping. there is a lot to learn. I am in Australia and I am only getting a few eggs from the girls - havent noticed her in box so that could molting could b the money. Will up her protein.
Thanks again every one for the advice - I really appreciate it :)

then there ya go! For you Australia peeps it is the end of summer... so feathers will be looking ratty and they will be molting.
 

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