1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

extended moult, or is my hen being picked on?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by smnytx, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. smnytx

    smnytx Out Of The Brooder

    87
    0
    39
    Sep 9, 2007
    Hi, everyone -

    I'd love some guesses as to what is causing my 1 y.o. EE hen to stay in moulting mode. All three of my hens started moulting and stopped laying toward the end of August, just shy of their birthday, and two of them started laying JUST when Hurricane Ike hit, and I had to evacuate with them.

    Obviously, the evacuation messed everyone up, and egg production stopped again for a bit, but as soon as we were home and back to the normal routine, my BR started laying, followed by my RIR. The EE, however, just keeps losing feathers. Every morning, there are a bunch under their roost, and her neck is looking quite straggly (although I can't see any skin). It looks like there are new feathers growing in, but even though the weather's turning colder, she's shedding like crazy... or is she? I don't see any behavior problems during the day, but could it be that the other two are pulling her feathers at night?

    And if her feathers are being pulled, would that keep her from laying? We're at almost two months with no eggs from her.

    She's a hard one to catch (she's always been the most skittish of the three), but I finally cornered her yesterday, and when I picked her up, I was surprised by how light she is. It seems like her weight is down, and her crop felt empty.

    So, right now, I'm isolating her once a day and giving her a bowl of her favorites, and the other two can't take any of it. She likes cottage cheese, rice, and grapes... and the cottage cheese is especially a fave right now, probably b/c she's low on protein.

    Any thoughts? I'm not super worried, but if there's a problem brewing, I'd like to take action if possible.

    Thanks in advance...
     
  2. Colored Egg Farmer

    Colored Egg Farmer Chicken overload

    It might be bullying since she is lighter than the others. I would separate her like you did and feed her by herself to get her weight back up. Usually a 1 year old hen doesn't molt though.
     
  3. smnytx

    smnytx Out Of The Brooder

    87
    0
    39
    Sep 9, 2007
    Thanks for the reply.

    I'm pretty sure they moulted - two of the three, anyway. The BR never did, but the RIR and the EE both lost lots of feathers around the same time, and both stopped laying, right up until just before the hurricane.

    Is it just that it's rare, or does it NEVER happen that 1 year old hens moult?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by