Crazy feather loss!

rehabbermichele

Hatching
Aug 10, 2015
7
1
7
Hi. Everyone,
I have a flock of 11 and one of the hens is losing almost all her feathers, and is covered in pin feather spikes. She looks like a porcupine. I picked her up and walked down the hall with her and left a trail of feathers. It looks like a molt gone insane! She has no signs of ectoparasites, no other birds are affected, her droppings look good and she's eating and drinking. I brought hey indoors last night - it's December on the east coast and dips below freezing at night now. She's got nothing but blood feather spikes on 70 percent of her body. She looks be dragged and a mess! I don't know what breed she is. She dark, very small, and had a fabulous tail you might think was a rooster's.

I'm a licensed wildlife rehabilitator specializing in songbirds, waterfowl and raptors, so I have most basic meds, knowledge is bird health (not chickens, though!) and access to a vet.

Any thoughts gratefully received!

I have some photos but can't see how to attach them

Michele
 

beetandsteet

Songster
Aug 21, 2015
847
108
151
Texas!
welcome-byc.gif

Sounds like your hen is going through an "agressive" molt. Each chicken has her own way of molting--some lose just a few feathers at a time, replacing them immediately, and some get almost naked overnight. It's normal. Make sure she has a warm place to roost at night, and that she doesn't get wet. Also, make sure the rest of the flock doesn't get to pecking open her blood feathers--chickens have a tendency to be bloodthirsty little beasts!
BTW, to post a pic, click on the picture icon near the smileys icon on the toolbar.
 

quarkthestrange

In the Brooder
Jan 31, 2015
11
0
22
Nothing to offer other than I have a poor hen going through the same thing. She looks crazy! I thought 2 of my young roosters were picking on her, so they went in the freezer. I can't tell if it's getting better or not, but I feel so bad for her. She's the first one out of the roost in the morning. The one fighting to be the first to eat (I've got 16 chickens) and her poop is fine too. Here's hoping for feather growth before the weather dips again!
 

Teila

Bambrook Bantams
6 Years
Apr 15, 2013
16,612
26,053
1,026
Forrest Beach, FNQ, Australia
Howdy rehabbermichele and Welcome to BYC
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I have a hen who goes through a hard moult every year and I agree that your hen sounds like she is going through a hard moult.

When they are moulting they are very sensitive and picking them up can be uncomfortable for them so please try not to do that unless you really have to. She may be a little mopey and feeling sorry for herself, keeping her distance from the rest of the flock etc.

She should not need any medications but increasing her protein intake will definitely help with the feather regrowth.

This is Dusty during a moult. The first time she moulted she was fine when I left for work but looked like she had been attacked when I got home only 7 hours later .. black feathers everywhere and she looked like this
ep.gif





 

Nupe

Songster
5 Years
Jun 13, 2014
593
213
156
Georgia
One thing you can do for an aggressive molt is to supplement their protein intake, preferably meat protein.
 

rehabbermichele

Hatching
Aug 10, 2015
7
1
7
Omg...I don't need to post a photo because the one above looks just like my hen! (Lil scrambler). It even looks like the same breed! She IS keeping away from the flock and feeling sorry for herself! I let her out during the day because the temps are mild but bring her indoors at night. Thanks everyone - I feel better!
 

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