Damaged Feathers - Broken/Not holding shape??

CluckNPluckFarm

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
34
0
24
PA
So my flock of 13 girls seems to be showing signs of a molt. They all have bald patches above their tails, and a few with patches on their necks (no roosters). However, in the past couple weeks, one by one their feathers have started to look very poor. The ends are broken off and they are no longer stiff. Stiff meaning that they aren't holding the typical feather shape, and the girls are starting to look more like a silkie.

Here's an example of what I mean. First picture is my Brahma during a dust bath, and the second was first thing in the morning a few days ago.

Also I haven't noticed any prolonged picking between any of the girls, and the feathers that look like this are all over and not just one spot. Is this just part of the process of losing old feathers? Or is their something wrong with their diet/health?

Thanks in advance.



 
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BayBay Peepers

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 5, 2013
5,156
1,126
338
Wisconsin
What is in their diet? Have you checked them over for lice or mites? If they're in the clear it may just be a prolonged molt. (how old are they?) In the meantime you could up their protein intake to help build stronger feathers.
 

CluckNPluckFarm

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
34
0
24
PA
No mites or lice than I can find. They are all about a year old now. Their diet consists mainly of Purina Layer feed, sometimes fermented, sometimes not. They also receive various greens at least every other day (cabbage/chickweed/parsley/cilantro/etc) and on very hot days maybe a slice of frozen watermelon. Once or twice a week since the molt started, they receive scrambled eggs/meal worms for a protein boost. They have constant access to fresh water/calcium/grit/dust bath.

We are currently working on an expansion of their run, to double the amount of space that they have outdoors and include more outdoor roosts as well, hoping that if it was a boredom picking issue, that would give them more room to spread out. Unfortunately they aren't able to roam outside of the fenced run, due to close proximity to neighbors as well as many predators (hawks,owls,fox,raccoon,opossum,snake).
 
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BayBay Peepers

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 5, 2013
5,156
1,126
338
Wisconsin
Not sure if this will offer much comfort, but so far I've noticed all of mine have scraggly feathers until after their first big molt. I also have a rooster, but after they hit that year mark it's like their feathers are much stronger. If you don't see bugs then I would just give them time to regrow and keep an eye on them. I'm sure they'll enjoy having more room to roam :)
 

CluckNPluckFarm

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
34
0
24
PA
That's good to hear. I thought about maybe putting them on Nutrena Feather Fixer feed for a bit, to see if that would help with the process.
 

BayBay Peepers

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 5, 2013
5,156
1,126
338
Wisconsin
You could try that. I never have, but I don't think it would hurt. We feed lots of meal worms (mostly because I'm a sucker and they know if they stare long enough I'll give them a treat)
 

CluckNPluckFarm

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
34
0
24
PA
Well I was just researching the nutrition in the Feather Fixer versus the feeds I have on hand. I think I may just put them back on the Purina Flock Raiser for the higher protein, and just make sure that the oyster shell/baked egg shell feeder stays full, to make up for the loss of calcium. The Feather Fixer is hard to find in my area anyway.
 
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BayBay Peepers

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 5, 2013
5,156
1,126
338
Wisconsin
That's what I use
smile.png
hopefully by the start of the next season they'll have some good feathers going.
 

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