Could this be a molt?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Robin'sBrood, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. Robin'sBrood

    Robin'sBrood Flock Mistress

    May 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    I went out to the coop this evening and found my black australorp hen, Betty, acting a little strange. She was standing on the outside of the nest box acting like she was unable to get onto the roost bars. So I picked her up to put her on it. When I did she freaked out, like I was going to murder her (she is normally not like that!) and then I felt her underside and realized that she is missing a LOT of feathers. Put her on the roost and went out in the run and there were black feathers everywhere! When I went back in the coop I noticed that she was being pretty aggressive to the other hens, to the point that only one was brave enough to share the roost bar with her. So, she is shedding feathers like crazy and is acting "off" to boot. She is 20 months old and has never molted before... could this explain her behavior? Also, it is going to be very cold tonight, should I go out there and put her flannel chicken saddle on her for a little extra warmth?



    Edited... I didn't count the months up right, she is 20 months old, not 21.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
  2. Robin'sBrood

    Robin'sBrood Flock Mistress

    May 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    I've never had a chicken go through a molt before so I have no idea what to expect. And yes, I did do a search but I don't feel like reading through the 4 million posts that have the word "molt" in them. [​IMG]
     
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I have one poor hen who has undergone a complete personality change during her hard molt. She blew her feathers all at once and looks like a porcupine. If you even look at her, the normally friendly girl runs screaming at full speed! The molt is very hard on them. Just give her extra protein for a couple of weeks and that will help.
     
  4. Robin'sBrood

    Robin'sBrood Flock Mistress

    May 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    Thanks, Cynthia. That has to be it then. Wow, when they blow their feathers, they really blow them! Why in the world is she molting now... it's so cold!
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I have several who are molting badly now, though most of them are in the end stages or over theirs. It's so awful for some of them. I know that they feel bad and uncomfortable. Not sure why they all molt at different times of year, unless it's just related to their age. Most of them molt for the first time at 18-20 months old, so depending on when they hatch, that may determine when they molt the first time.
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    SW Arkansas
    I had a hen that was so cranky and truthfully the molt did look painful, with her looking like a porcupine. I let her sleep on the edge of a nestbox because she seemed to be more comfortable there. Now I can't get her to go back to sleeping on a roost! [​IMG]
     
  7. Robin'sBrood

    Robin'sBrood Flock Mistress

    May 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    Should I worry about her being too cold? I do have her flannel dress (saddle) that I can put on her, at least at night, if need be.
     
  8. kennedyscochins

    kennedyscochins Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 1, 2009
    Big Clifty
    I had a lady come to my house to do testing for my NPIP certification. Two of my hens were in molt and did not want to be held. She told me that when they are in molt, their whole bodies feel like a giant bruise and that's why they act so differently through this time. So, now I just try not to handle them too much during their molting.
     
  9. Robin'sBrood

    Robin'sBrood Flock Mistress

    May 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    Quote:Awwww, the poor babies. No wonder she squawked like I was pulling her head off when I picked her up. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
  10. Robin'sBrood

    Robin'sBrood Flock Mistress

    May 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    My poor Betty, she is starting to get that porcupine look y'all mentioned. I've taken tuna and fresh cantaloupe out for her and she wouldn't eat any of it. She doesn't act sick or anything but she is very standoffish from the other birds. [​IMG] I hope this doesn't last long, how long should I expect?
     

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