Chicken's feathers don't want to grow back

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chickenunsernam, Jul 29, 2018.

  1. Chickenunsernam

    Chickenunsernam Chirping

    Jan 16, 2017
    Hi everyone-

    I have this chicken that her back is absolutley bare and her wings and neck are losing feathers. Her tail feathers are gone. She's with one rooster but this rooster has like 7 other hens with him and he's very old he mates less with them ( he's like 9 years old now)

    I thought that maybe I need to wait until she molts again or something to grow her feathers back. She still lays eggs and in fact now she's broody- so I'm trying to break her broodiness cause I don't want her to lose even more feathers.

    The thing is- I have a little midget rooster (I'm really not sure of breed names- sorry) that got into a fight with a silkie rooster and he lost all the feathers at the top of his head (they're too mean). A month or so later though and he's already grown them back!

    So this makes me wonder what's wrong with my hen that she doesn't grow her feathers back? Is there something I can do to help her? I was thinkingg of making a little coat for her to cover her bare back so the other hens don't peck her.

    What do you guys suggest?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    It sounds like she might be molting. If you are in the northern hemisphere it is early but not totally unheard of, especially if she is broody. I've had broody hens molt early. Have you checked for mites and lice? Sometimes that can cause feather loss. Also, are other chickens plucking her feathers, probably to eat? It is not always the roster.

    If the total feather came out the feather should grow back in a few weeks. If any part of the shaft is still in there the feather will not grow back until she molts.
    EggSighted4Life likes this.
  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Sometimes feathers that are pulled all the way out will grow back.

    Feathers that are broken will not until molt and sometimes the ones pulled all the way out won't until molt.

    Can you post a pic so we can look for mites, lice, or pecking damage... and really see what you are talking about?

    I had one hen that got feathers pulled during an accidental venture into the stag pen with a bunch of amorous cockerels and didn't grow back in what I considered a reasonable amount of time so I took her to the vet to verify I wasn't missing something. He didn't find cause for concern and after molt she look great again.

    Since your gal is still laying... her body is sending the energy to eggs instead of feathers... which are made from 90% protein and it's amino acids. Making sure protein isn't diminished too far can heavily impact feather growth and quality. How old is your gal and what breed is she?

    My broody gals... the Silkies... they usually do go through mini molts after they have sat and raised chicks. They do it while still raising chicks and resume laying in their normal time period... AND THEN don't do standard winter molts. :confused: MAYBE it's a secret bonus that offsets the non laying time of broody's! :pop

    I think seeing her condition will help make accurate suggestions. Also what do you feed including treats and supplements? How many birds total in how much space? Is she being bullied by other gals?
    azygous likes this.
  4. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    There's usually an underlying health issue that prevents regrowth of lost feathers, resulting in an unusually extended molt. I had a hen that went eighteen months with a smooth, featherless back and wing shoulders. In fact, she would get badly sunburned and I resorted to using sunscreen on her in summer.

    I even designed and sewed her a special saddle to cover her baldness. P1010017.JPG

    Sometimes, you can shock the chicken into completing molt by feeding high grade animal protein. A pricey but effective feed called Feather Fixer is another remedy. However, if the cause is an underlying health issue such as an avian virus, all you can hope for is that she will eventually replace the feathers.
    Abriana, snow5164 and EggSighted4Life like this.
  5. snow5164

    snow5164 Crowing

    May 16, 2015
    I have a rir that gets pecked , she is bald around her tail feathers , no mites or lice .

    I think like everyone said because her feathers are broken off they won’t grow back til a molt ...
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Never heard that one before, regarding high quality protein... But I see you say shock them into FINISHING molt not INTO molt. :pop

    I don't care for feather fixer... just feed more protein would be my choice instead of switching feeds.

    ANIMAL protein meaning eggs, meat, and such... because of the amino acids... the reason why things like peas or other high protein plant products aren't being suggested as an alternative... though I'm sure it all adds up.

    I would choose to feed her a scrambled egg once a week or so... not only loaded with 34% of it's energy coming from high quality protein, but the other nutrients and micro/macro nutrients within an egg have everything to sustain a chick's life for 3 days after hatch... so the vitamin content which importantly includes selenium is also great in eggs.

    Please note my suggestion may vary once feeding routine is disclosed. :confused:

    I hadn't realized their COULD be parts of the shaft in there that I couldn't see! :thumbsup

    I wonder... since chickens don't molt EVERY feather... if molt might even sometimes miss those broken ones? :confused:
    azygous likes this.
  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Have you done something to stop the pecking? Do you realize that some mites are microscopic and will never be seen by the human eye but only their evidence will? :pop
    azygous likes this.
  8. snow5164

    snow5164 Crowing

    May 16, 2015
    Yes I do know that , thanks .
    I’ve dusted the nesting boxes recently as a preventative measure , we just combined two flocks so I’ll watch , but the pecking must be done at night .

    Not sure how to deal with her there are 21 hens .
    azygous likes this.
  9. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    You deal with her as an individual. Check out your roost set up, see everyone has enough room, identify your bully or alleged night time picker. Is it the same girl sitting next to her every night? Seems like it would tale a lot of picking t make her bald and bird should be sleeping at night... have ya got a light on in there? Look for mites under the roost, since those ones come out to feed at night and don't live on the birds. (those ones are on stumps in my yard but my roost are clean) What did you dust with as a preventative?

    Has she been been missing feather before the two flock integration? Have you already posted pics on another thread and gotten opinions or ideas that is what was going on? Sorry so many questions... all meant to be helpful!
    azygous likes this.

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