Feather loss and freezing

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bryanamg, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. bryanamg

    bryanamg Hatching

    Apr 20, 2016
    The week of Thanksgiving one of our Americana's started losing feathers on the back of her neck. We thought it was due to another hen trying to take her place at the top of the pecking order. After another day of watching though we saw that she was missing most of the feathers on her whole neck and some of her head, which led us to believe it was an early molt. (She's not even a year old). I thought it was perhaps a stress induced molt as 1) she never quite figured out the watering system they had and 2) was being fought pretty consistently by one other hen. We also thought that maybe it could be lice and treated her for that but no other bird showed any signs.

    Of course the week after she lost most of her feathers the temperature dropped significantly. Twenties have been the highs. She's spending all day inside the coop to try to keep warm but we can't get her to eat any food we give her. I've seen her come out a few times to get water (we changed their setup so she could figure it out) that's it. I know they're hearty and they keep each other warm at night but I'm worried about her. I've thought about bringing her inside just to monitor her water and food consumption. I know if she's not eating to keep warm and she has hardly any feathers there is a good chance she won't make it.

    I'm just curious if any one else has had a similar experience. What should l do?

  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Welcome to BYC. It can be sad to watch one molt in the freezing cold temperatures. They can huddle up next to a flockmate at night on the roost. If you bring her inside, then you will have to face the reintegration problem, and she probably wouldn't be able to suddenly go out into freezing temperature. You might make her a simple polarfleece hen saddle, and give her some chopped egg daily for extra protein. Saddles can be made without sewing by using a 7x9 inch piece of fleece, and cutting two 1 1/2 -2 inch slits for wings. The strechier the fabric the easier to get on. Everyone will freak out at first when they see her, but quickly will get used to it. The picture below is similar to ones I have made, but I prefer simple slits to hold it on better. Here is the article where more pics are available: http://www.linnacresfarm.com/2014/04/how-to-make-simple-hen-saddleapron.html
    photo by LinnAcresFarm
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by