Does it hurt my hen to pick her up when molting?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by farmgirl02, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. Hi,
    I was wondering if it hurts my hen to pick her up, when molting.
    She used not to mind if I held her, but now she clucks like the world is coming to an end!
    This is her first molt.


  2. Farmgirl1000

    Farmgirl1000 Chirping

    Dec 2, 2013
    Yes, sometimes it can be painful to pick them up when they are molting.
    Your hen should return back to her old self as soon as her molt is over .
    1 person likes this.
  3. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    If you shave, you've experienced the intense discomfort of stubble. That's what it feels like to a chicken as the pin feathers are erupting and beginning to grow out.

    On top of that, I believe they revert to a relatively crabby mood while molting. Most of my friendliest girls are noticeably stand-offish until they've completed feather re-growth.

    There's at least one very good reason for them to avoid being handled during molt. If those pin feather shafts happen to break off, they will bleed profusely since the blood in them lacks the ability to coagulate.
    1 person likes this.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I say leave her alone until she's grown the feathers back in. I don't know if it hurts them, but if it feels like it looks, I sure wouldn't want anyone touching me! Plus, if she's putting up a fuss, that's her only way of letting you know she doesn't like it.
    1 person likes this.
  5. FarmGirl1000! We have the same profile picture! lol[​IMG]
  6. Pip4Chirp

    Pip4Chirp In the Brooder

    Apr 5, 2014
    This thread is from two years ago, but maybe someone is still around?

    I picked up my chicken tonight - she is molting and wanted to sleep on the roof of the chicken coop. She struggled and seemed very distressed and then I learned I could hurt her growing feathers by touching her pin feathers. Do you know, if I didn't break any pin feathers and none of them were bleeding, then will her feathers grow normally? It was too dark to tell but I'll check in the morning.

  7. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    It's very uncomfortable for a molting chicken to be handled, and it's possible to damage the fragile pin feathers. If broken, rather than yanked out, the feathers will grow out damaged and will not be replaced until next year's molt.

    For how it feels to be a molting chicken, consider how your own skin feels as shaved hair grows back as stubble. It's very unpleasant and prickly. Normally friendly chickens become uncharacteristically stand-offish and even peevish during molt because handling causes considerable discomfort.

    After molt is completed, your friendly chickens will return to their normal loveable selves.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Answered here:

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