Feathers growing back?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by LestersFlat, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
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    One of my hens was mostly de-feathered by the other girls. (also posted in Managing Your Flock)

    Now that I was finally able to separate her from them, I need to know if the little stubs of feathers are new feathers growing in? Or are they what's left of the feathers that were pecked?

    From what I have read, if they are the remains of her feathers, then new ones won't come in until she molts. Is that true? Then she is going to be in for a very cold couple of months! I do have her in my garage, which is warmer than the coop, but she doesn't have the other girls fluffed up next to her to keep her warm.

    I have her in a wire crate, a few inches of hay on the bottom, and I cover it with a blanket at night. Do you think that is sufficient?

    Someone on the other forum suggested putting an old sweater sleeve, or knit hat with a hole cut out for her head on her, but I am afraid that would upset her more than she already is. It took 3 days of trying to finally capture her, and now, when we reach into the crate to give food or water, she gets antsy and nervous all over again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    What I'm seeing looks like new feather growth, not snapped off feathers. So she should fill in over the next few weeks. Just curious, are you certain other birds did that to her rather than her simply molting???
    Personally, with her being alone and missing a lot of feathers, I'd do whatever necessary to keep her above freezing temps until she has better feathering. Many probably wouldn't worry about it no matter how cold it gets...
     
  3. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I agree with teach...

    as usual.

    Hope she grows feathers swiftly. You may want to up her protein intake, as that will help.

    Good luck,
    Imp
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  4. barry750

    barry750 Out Of The Brooder

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    I had a hen and a pullet literally skinned on their back and chest by my dog and they are both growing feathers back and almost can't tell they were injured at all. I'm amazed at how well chickens recover so superbly from physical injuries but yet weird little coughs and colds can put them down
     
  5. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    I am sure she wasn't molting, and caught the offending hens in the act. They are all the same age, under a year, and I think not molting yet.

    I had another hen who was injured by a predator, and she looks almost as good as new after a few weeks, so I am hoping that when this girl's feathers grow back that she will look as good as she did before. Luckily the temperatures have moderated somewhat, so she will not be as cold as she could have been, and I have been throwing a wool blanket over the cage at night.

    Upping protein intake might be a good idea, Imp/Chief. I have been adding some Gatorade to her water (for the electrolytes) but I am guessing that protein would help as well. Maybe I will add some canned tuna to the extras: warm oatmeal and fruit that I have been giving her.
     
  6. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

    124
    2
    91
    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    [​IMG]
    Here's the latest photo of my girl. Apparently she lost all of the remaining feathers on her head, even though they were pretty much the only ones she still had left. (The color is off because of the red heat lamp we have over the crate.)

    All of the other feathers are coming back, slowly but surely. I have been putting her outside in the one fenced garden we have, during the days when it is not too cold. Today, even though it was very warm (50°) she did not come out of the wooden box that I gave her for cover. Yesterday we thought we lost her, only to find her burrowed down in the weeds. She looked like she was dead, but maybe she was just lying down and soaking up the sun, since it was much colder yesterday (35°). When I gave her the wooden box with hay today, perhaps she stayed in there for the warmth.

    I am guessing that she will recover fully. She looks MUCH better now that her feathers are coming back. But I still worry that the others will peck her again when I return her to the coop. I am hoping that now that they are free-ranging again (on the good days) that they will not be so inclined to peck at her.

    If they do, the only solution that I can see is to send her somewhere else (to a friend's) where the other girls will let her be.

    Sound like a plan?
     

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