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Chicken Molting

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Thedukelife, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. Thedukelife

    Thedukelife In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2016
    I have a hen that is molting, kind of scrawny and is being picked on. I separated her and would like to find an organic/natural way to help repair feather loss and molting. Comments and advise would be appreciated.

  2. Hi. [​IMG]

    Increase protein, that is what feathers are made of.
  3. Thedukelife

    Thedukelife In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2016
    Thanks EggSighted
  4. Vickie 51

    Vickie 51 In the Brooder

    Sep 19, 2012
    Definitely increase the protein. Also try not to handle her a lot since they get sort of sensitive when they molt. Try and reduce her stress level as well.
  5. Good point about being sensitive. It's true for chicks when they are getting their feathers in as well. [​IMG]

    Since you have separated her, she may get picked on even more when she returns, or have to work her way back into the pecking order depending on how long it's been. Is it one member of the flock picking on her and is she being targeted more than standard pecking order?

    When you return her, make sure there are visual barriers, a place to get away, and maybe multiple feed stations. Returning her to the roost at night so they all wake up together could be another way to ease her back in. I don't know why it works, but it often does and that's how I've integrated all of my broods into the coop. Have you checked for any other parasites? Like lice, mites or worms?

    I think peas are high in protein. And obviously meats and eggs. A little probiotics wouldn't hurt her, in the form of yogurt. Possibly even Greek, more protein but not sure I'm about the probiotic level. Not the diet ones.

    Where she is separated at, does she have access to dirt? If not you may need to bring her some since they use small pebbles for digestion, unless you provide grit.

    I feel bad for molting hens. Hope she feels better! [​IMG]
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Unless she is being killed, I would not move her from the flock as it causes so many problems when you want to put her back. If she is seriously getting picked on, try putting up some blind spots in your run, where a bird can get out of sight from the others. They tend to look terrible if they get a hard molt, but almost always, those feathers grow in fast. And in a week she will look much younger, shinier and healthier with the pretty new feathers.

    I don't believe in yogurt for birds, but I would give a little meat. Maybe some deer scraps if your family is hunting. But really any of the higher protein bird rations would be good.

    Mrs K
    1 person likes this.
  7. Thedukelife

    Thedukelife In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2016
    Thanks Mrs.K! And I am not killing her, but I do plan on selling her.that's why I want her to be healthy and look good.

  8. I have never given my birds yogurt, just heard it from others. And you know (if you remember me) that I am a learner.... So can you tell me why you don't like yogurt for birds? Thanks
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    I agree with Mrs K. Separating her will only make her life more miserable when she returns to the flock. I've found that birds going through a hard molt tend to isolate themselves from the flock, as they are usually ousted to the bottom of the pecking order. They know that to be involved in a skirmish at this vulnerable time would not bode well for them. I have one gal who has been having a difficult time. She's been isolating for weeks. Thankfully, predation is minimal at this time, and she has lots of cover options. I try to see to it that she has some feed set aside for her where ever she chooses to hang out. Have given her some animal protein. Within the last week, though she still looks like she had a fight with a lawn mower (and lost) she's coming back into flock presence more often. An other couple of weeks should see her looking pretty good. One thing to keep in mind is that if she is getting feather picked during a molt, THEN, IMO it would be prudent to separate her. Plenty of space, plenty of open ended options to get out of sight, plenty of multi level hang out options are very helpful. Simply putting a bale of hay in the run is a big help.

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