Feathers everywhere. . .

New2Peeps

Songster
11 Years
May 11, 2008
177
0
129
Indiana
Okay--my 4 EEs are 18 weeks old this week and in the last couple of weeks I am noticing feathers lying about. First it was the longest tailfeathers and a few wing feathers--from each bird, not just one of them. Then miscellaneous small feathers everywhere. Yesterday I walked around the yard and there were batches of smaller feathers in piles in the run. I notice that my leader of the flock has an area on the back of her neck that looks like someone just grabbed a handful and yanked the feathers out.

I have never seen these birds pick or peck at each other and I sat and watched them for a couple of hours yesterday. They do the usual chest butting and charging at each other once in awhile but that is about it. I let them out of the pen when I get home so they are free ranging in an area that is about 40 x 50 with grass and bushes.

So what do you all think the problem might be? Moulting? Picking on each other while in the locked run because they are annoyed with not being let out? When birds moult is there a pattern to which feathers are lost first?
 
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spook

Songster
11 Years
Apr 21, 2008
3,515
27
244
North Central Florida
My girls are the same way. I have never seen such a moult. DH went up to let the girls out and came back just worried thinking someone had been a murder! lol.
I hope this is not a sign of the up coming winter!
It seems as tho it has taken every ounce of energy from them, their eyes look tired . I have never seen that.
Supplementing their diets with greens and veggies from your house, yogurt and oatmeal is another good thing, rich in protein and carbs.
Also, you will find that egg laying can stop during this time, so don't worry, just give them a bit of a break and its tough on them.
Its been rainy in the NE US, so I keep my girls in during the afternoon because they don't have many feathers and I'm worried they would get a chill (sorry, Im a nut for my girls). Ive been saving feathers and making crafts with them. Kinda neat to give gifts like that.
Hang in there, they'll be back at it soon enough.
 

New2Peeps

Songster
11 Years
May 11, 2008
177
0
129
Indiana
Thanks for all your replies
What concerned me most was the big clump of feathers off the back of the neck of my head hen--all gone in one day. But maybe it is just molting. They have not laid the first egg yet, so it sure won't affect their production!
 

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