Easter Egger Top Hen Losing Feathers- Stress?

chillismom

Chirping
Jun 28, 2020
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79
Pretty sure this is stress, I just want to know how bad it can get because this is my favorite hen and I don’t live anywhere near an avian vet.
My Easter Egger Chilli (in my profile pic) has stopped laying and started losing feathers in the last few days. She loves to be held so I picked her up the other morning and she started squirming (unusual) and a few feathers fell out like she was molting. When I looked in the coop there were a lot of her feathers under where she sleeps. When she shakes at least three feathers fall out every time. They seem loose on her back and at the base of her tail. It’s July and she usually molts in October. This has only started happening since I introduced two new hens to the coop at night who are very loud but she’s seen them and been near them for about 17 weeks. Her friend who she sleeps next to is also very upset having to sleep in the (spacious) coop with the new girls and cries herself to sleep right in Chilli’s ear. It has also been extremely hot out and we received a bad batch of food that smells off that the chickens barely eat. Chilli still eats plenty of other things (replacement food and treats, water) and forages and poops normally. She’s just more reserved and rapidly losing feathers. I don’t want to move the teenage chickens somewhere else and eventually have to move them back in and do this to her again. How bad can this get? What can I do? I can’t lose her and don’t want to make her sick, the whole point of getting these new chicks was to expand her flock. Thanks in advance
 

chillismom

Chirping
Jun 28, 2020
30
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79
Can you post some pictures of her?
Yes I took these first two yesterday and the last is her a few days ago. Seems like not much but the amount of feathers I’m seeing fall off is not normal
 

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rosemarythyme

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Jul 3, 2016
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Sounds like a straight up molt, whether she's just molting early or if it's some combo of stress from the new additions + feed + heat. I wouldn't worry about it too much, but I would minimize handling her since it's uncomfortable for her. I've already had 2 hens mini-molt this summer.
 

chillismom

Chirping
Jun 28, 2020
30
60
79
Sounds like a straight up molt, whether she's just molting early or if it's some combo of stress from the new additions + feed + heat. I wouldn't worry about it too much, but I would minimize handling her since it's uncomfortable for her. I've already had 2 hens mini-molt this summer.
Thank you, I didn’t know it was possible for her to molt this early in the year but that makes sense if stress can trigger it. She’s showing all her usual signs of molting now, shaking her head which she does when the neck feathers start to come out. Poor girl
 

casportpony

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Thank you, I didn’t know it was possible for her to molt this early in the year but that makes sense if stress can trigger it. She’s showing all her usual signs of molting now, shaking her head which she does when the neck feathers start to come out. Poor girl
Some of mine are starting to molt.
 
May 25, 2021
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740
141
Edmond (Snohomish County) WA
My 3 and 1 month and 4 days old Speckled Sussex just loose feathers sometimes. We bought her together with our other two new chicks, Peanut (RIR) and Butter (Sapphire Olive Egger) and we're already putting them together with our older 5 and Jelly (my speckled Sussex) is at the very, very bottom of the Pecking ORDER by Yellowie (Buff Brahma) that used to be at the bottom of the Pecking ORDER before Peanut, Butter, and Jelly came. Now nearly every time when Jelly shakes, 1 or two feather fells out. Are you sure she's still at the Top of the ORDER?
 

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