Feathers on the ground


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 10, 2012
Ellensburg, WA
As a new Chicken keeper I thought I had read more than enough to be "educated" on the subject, but alas I still have at least one question.

I have 40 chickens in a large coop (12x16 with a 4x12 roosting loft) with pine shavings for litter. None of my chickens are quite old enough to lay yet and Im not sure if age pertains to my question or not, but they are about 10 weeks old. I have not seen any evidence of pecking but there are feathers on the ground throughout the coop. They are not very dense but they are numerous enough to make me ask if this is normal? Is this just the product of a pecking order being established or of my birds growing up or is this a potential problem?

It is not uncommon for them to go through a couple of juvenile "mini molts." If you aren't seeing any injuries, that is what I would expect. One way to tell - If the feathers are picked out, there will be a bare patch. If they doing a mini molt, you will see new feathers coming in that look a bit like a pin cushion until the feather sheathing falls away.

Check them over for injuries, and/or bugs, but it's probably not an issue.
Thanks I will do that. I thought the rooster might be causing it when chasing the hens around but he is headed to the dining table this week anyway.
It's completely normal for chicks that age to loose feathers as they go through a juvenile molt several times before they start laying. I remember seeing all the feathers in the coop and freaking out thinking they had diseases or mites or whatever. I think I remember they go through 2 juvenile molts before adult feathers come in and then it's once a year after that.

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