Feathers are breaking off. Any ideas?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MsChickenMomma, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. MsChickenMomma

    MsChickenMomma Overrun With Chickens

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    Hello,

    I'm not sure if this is in the right section of the forums, but I have a question.

    I have a hen that is almost two years old. She lives in our house, and because of the climate difference, she didn't molt this winter like the rest of the hens outside did. That isn't at all concerning to me, but what is concerning is that all of her feathers along her legs, chest, wings, and under her wings are broken. They aren't falling out... they are breaking off. She is a very healthy girl, so I'm not sure what is causing this. Is it a calcium deficiency that is causing brittle feathers? Is it possible that she is breaking them off herself? If so.... what would be causing her to do that?

    Like I said, she is very healthy. She eats good, drinks well, she's very active and just overall a very happy hen. But all of these broken feathers are beginning to drive me nuts. She isn't exactly fun to hold right now, with all of those sharp feather ends all over her.

    If anyone has any idea what could be causing this, I would greatly appreciate it!

    Thanks!

    P.S. This has been a gradual thing. Her feathers started breaking like this about 8 months ago, maybe. It hasn't all happened recently. But I have noticed that they are breaking off more in the last two months, than any other time. Which is why I am thinking I should really look into what is causing this.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    All feathers get old, brittle and break - hence the reason for molting. If she didn't do a full molt, she's overdue and that's the reason. Feathers, once grown, don't rejuvenate. They have to be shed and regrown.
    Calcium certainly wouldn't be an issue. Very little if any calcium in feathers. They're about 92% protein.
    Why is she in the house?
    Cutting back on light and feed may induce molt. That's what she needs to do.
     
  3. MsChickenMomma

    MsChickenMomma Overrun With Chickens

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    Alright, thanks.

    She has been in the house for over a year now. She lives in here because she came to live in the house while she was recovering from a sickness, and once she recovered, we never put her back out.

    I'll see about cutting back on light. That may be a bit of a challenge, but I'll see what I can do.
     
  4. MsChickenMomma

    MsChickenMomma Overrun With Chickens

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    I am also well aware that feathers do not rejuvenate. That wasn't why I was asking about deficiencies. I just wasn't sure if there was a way to prevent feathers from becoming quite so brittle. But thanks for the input. :)
     

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