chicken molting with bloddy quills???


In the Brooder
11 Years
Oct 9, 2008

We were given a few chickens this summer and our leghorn is molting pretty bad. I noticed that her sides seemed a little bloody and after capturing her it looks as though the feathers have snapped??? off...when my husband held her...he ended up with bloody specks on his shirt. You can see the new feathers coming through the quills but is the blood normal??

By the way, she is in a coop with 4 others.

Thank you so much in advance.



Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
Blood is not normal. It often means that either that chicken or another chicken has found out that blood tastes good and pulling off pin feathers and eating them is tasty. You can try seperating the one injured till the feathers come out, feeding more protein, feeding black oil sunflower seeds, coating in bluekote/antipick. That will prevent others from picking on her, help feathers grow back (protein and methionine), and prevent her from picking on her own feathers.

Best of luck.

Hangin Wit My Peeps
11 Years
Apr 20, 2008
Birnamwood, Wisconsin
Could they be pecking at her? I don't think it's too normal for the quills to break off during molt. Poor girl. I would keep an eye out when they can't see you watching to see if they are picking on her. If she is actively bleeding you may want to take her out until that bleeding stops. The others will peck and peck at her and it could get bad. Good luck!


Intentional Solitude
Premium Feather Member
15 Years
16 Years
Feb 3, 2007
Blue Ridge Mtns. of North Georgia
My Buff Brahma is like that. Suddenly, there was an explosion of feathers and she was naked. Several of the feathers were broken and bleeding (old feathers are very brittle), but I think it was the rooster who did that. She has a hurt toe and cant run from him like she normally would. I think I may separate her for a few days since the broody pen is now vacant.
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Guinea Goonie

Roosting Elsewhere
12 Years
Sep 2, 2008
Peace Valley in Howell County Missouri
A chicken is just like ANY OTHER BIRD. The feathers first come in as "pin feathers" and these are FULL of blood. The blood nourishes the feathers while the are growing inside the casing. After awhile, the feathers grow to a point where they start to come out of the casing, yet the casing is still around the base of the feather. There more than likely will be blood still in these casings as the feather finally matures. If you have a roo that fights (like my leghorn roo who is "THE CHICKEN" of the roost) one will see blood on the bird because he is breaking the casings while there is blood in them.

Never, attempt to break open the casings yourself as you could break the feather and blood will start to flow from it. If you do see that your bird has broken thier casing because of a fight or whatever, you should pull the feather from the skin to stop this. You can try to stop the bleeding using a blood stopage compuund. A simple one is plain old white flour to the complex silver nitrate stuff.

A bird CAN actually bleed out from a situation like this. I see blood on my leghorn roo all the time from this. We call him FOGHORN LEGHORN and like I said he is "THE CHICKEN" and he is in every ones business.

Fear not, birds are amazing creatures and chcken fall into this catagory.


Flock Goddess
13 Years
Jan 12, 2007
Weymouth, Massachusetts
The feathers when they come in are sort of liquid filled straws...
The waxy stuff comes off and then you have real feathers.
My hen Slifer used to break her foot feathers off and then it would be a big old mess. Sorta like OJ and Jack the Ripper came to a Steak Tartare dinner.

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