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!

Feather loss, picking? what to do?!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lapsarian, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. lapsarian

    lapsarian Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    Oct 2, 2008
    Hi all,
    I am a new chicken owner (since May) and I have a flock of 14 sweet girls. three weeks ago I noticed that one had lost some feathers on her back, but I didn't really worry. now most of them have some type of feather loss (mostly neck and back, no vent feather loss), and one of my girls has lost almost all of the feathers on her neck and head. I'm very worried about her, she looks terrible! we were away during the holidays, so they were confined to their coop and run for a week (folks came by every couple days to check on them and refill water and food). the coop is 6X8 and the outside run is an extra 6X10 or so... since we have been back, they are back outside for part of the day. they aren't aggressive witheach other, and I haven't seen any excessive pecking although it might be happening at night when they are all in the coop. and they all seem healthy; they are eating and playing.

    any thoughts? if it is picking, what should I do? could it just be happening at night? and is there anything I can put on our one hen's neck to protect it?

    thanks for any help!
     
  2. vtchickenlady

    vtchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    133
    0
    119
    Sep 5, 2008
    They are probably molting. I had one that molted a couple weeks ago and she looked bad too. It was mosty on her head and neck. Amazingly, you can hardly tell now. She has all new feathers. You'll be able to see the quills. They'll grow back fast.
     
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    113
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I agree with vtchickenlady, sounds like moulting from your description. Is she around 7 to 8 months old? Mine have just finished a mini-moult, which I'm told is not as bad as the full moult that comes around 18 months.
    I found upping the protein intake while moulting helped them to grow the new feathers in quickly. I used black oil sunflower seeds, scrambled eggs, yogurt and small amounts of dry cat food to up the protein.
     
  4. lapsarian

    lapsarian Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    Oct 2, 2008
    thanks all for your responses! I think you are right about the feather loss being molting... but I'm keeping my eye on the girls. the one hen with the most lost feathers has a few things that look like ingrown hairs-- could that be new feathers growing in?
    thanks again!
     
  5. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    113
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:What you'll see close to the skin is new feathers encased in a sheath and the feathers look to be "blooming" out of the end of the sheath.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by