Half Naked Chicken blues---warning: graphic pics...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DelcoChix, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. DelcoChix

    DelcoChix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My formerly lovely Buckeye hen, 'Patty,' must have flipped a switch to go into full blown molt, right when the temps have dropped and the wind picked up here in Ohio...she's now roaming the yard in a half-naked state, showing off her drumsticks (literally) and I'm a bit concerned about her being able to keep warm when temps are in the 30-40's, if we're lucky, 50's at the highest. I swear she was shivering right next to my back door this afternoon. She has access to both a large shed (back half is the coop for the rest of the girls), she and her sister, 'Nugget"have free reign in the yard as the others pick on them terribly. And yes, they do tend to be a bit spoiled..they're kind of special. All of our girls get treats (this weeks menu includes yellow squash and roma tomatos marked down at the grocery, some Wheaties cereal, a combo of BOSS and scratch, red grapes, apples and greek yogurt)...something different each day. I was wondering if they are any recomendations for you BYC'ers with more experience regarding, should I be feeding Patty anything extra that would help her re-grow feathers before she freezes? I don't think she'd tolerate a poultry parka and I want to wrap her in a blanket she looks so cold. I wondered if you would recommend something with higher protein, if so, what? Or more probiotics like yogurt? Would plain or vanilla yogurt work as well as the more costly greek? Or should I just let her be a chicken and handle it herself? She has access to shelter, water and food, but I hesitate to put her in lockdown (straw filled dog crate) unless that might be what's best for her....what have you all experienced with these goofy birds that waited until right after our brief fall warm up to lose all her feathers? Am hoping I was successful in uploading a pic or two to show you why I'm feeling for the poor girl...and how long do you think this will last? THANKS for your help.


    And yes, she's down to a single tailfeather...and all this in 48 hours....sigh
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  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I have one that looks much like her, and another who looks worse. Lots of folks have been talking about how they molt when it's getting cold, seemingly the wrong time of year, but that's what they do.

    Chickens do shiver. Maybe some bales of hay to give her a good insulated windbreak, plus some hay she can snuggle into?

    They do need protein for feather growth. I'd take it very easy on veggie treats right now, for that reason. You can give them any kind of meat, including chicken. They love a chicken or turkey carcass, a pork bone, etc; just not too much salt, of course. Plain yogurt is ok if it's live culture, also buttermilk, but keep in mind chickens are somewhat lactose intolerant so you want to keep the quantity down (never heard of the idea it should be Greek yogurt.) I can buy a can of mackerel, a 12 oz. can I think, near the tuna, about $1.50, no additives. They love it. I don't give it all in one day of course. Lots of people feed BOSS; mine won't eat it. Game bird feed is like 25% protein; a bit expensive but, again, it will last a while -- use it like scratch or for a treat, or mix a little in with the feed. You can buy sardines packed in water and they love that. Chicken backs and necks from the grocery are not expensive; boil them a while and give them the whole thing, bones and all.

    If you have a dog crate and straw you could just prop the door open and let her have access if she wanted it, if she gets that cold.
     
  3. 2DogsFarm

    2DogsFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    NW Indiana
    Compared to my Black Star Markena - who is just now finishing up her moult - your girl looks positively well-dressed:lol:

    I swear all Markena needed was the plastic tray & wrap to look exactly like a supermarket bird!
    She was baldest when temps were in the 40s here during the day.
    It made ME cold looking at her!
    Still she spent the days outside freeranging and had access to the coop if she wanted.

    Your girl will be fine until her "clothes" regrow.
    As long as she knows where to shelter, she'll decide If she needs to.

    BYC Knowledge told me extra protein is good for moulting hens.
    Try canned mackerel - cheap & they love it.
    There's also protein in cooked oatmeal that you can give her warm & in plain yogurt that my girls chow on like there's no tomorrow.
     
  4. chica57

    chica57 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 25, 2009
    I,ve had the same problem last few weeks-was also told to give them more protein which I have and have already noticed a big improvement (mine looked alot worse). I do give them treats everyday but didnt know about the mackerel----I love this forum--thanks!!!!!!! [​IMG]
     
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Oh my goodness. I am such a neophyte! I have been worrying about my Buffy, who looks like she's been in a fight and somebody pulled out all the feathers on the front of her neck, and along one wing and partway down her back! My big ol' beautiful, puffy, fluffy Buffy! I thought, jeeez, maybe ... what could possibly have ticked off somebody enough to take on such a senior ranking hen and DO that to her???

    DUH. [​IMG]

    I mean it. I really didn't even think of her MOULTING! (Or molting.)

    Thank you SO much, everybody!!!
     
  6. DelcoChix

    DelcoChix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thanks for the advice--don't know where I read about the greek yogurt, somewhere on BYC, but they went nuts for it--I've only given one 8oz tub twice in the last three weeks, so I'll be careful not to overdo it, just wanted to sort of build them up with winter coming...glad to hear plain yogurt will work also, cheaper is a good thing. And I try not to overdo the veggies, get them from the 'sale' rack at Meijer grocery store, adds some variety to their Layena crumbles and the BOOS/scratch mix (maybe a half a scoop a day for 23 birds). I'll definitely try the mackeral...have to admit I feel a little "Hannibal Lecturish" feeding them their own kind...but will keep it in mind for future reference--I have a dozen homegrown meaties in the freezer right now so shouldn't be too tough. I also wondered about the leftover bit of meatie feed I have in a feeder, that's higher protein...think that would work?
     
  7. DelcoChix

    DelcoChix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thanks for the reassurance---the others who've molted were no where near as bald as poor Patty...and I laughed out loud when you described the "plastic wrap and tray" part--good one.
    I've got a barn full of hay she's got access to, but she seems to prefer ranging around the backyard with her sister (likes to rub it in that they are 'free', unlike the rest of the bullies who are only let loose when we're home)....this is our first molt--the oldest girls are at about the 18 month mark...can you tell we're new at this?[​IMG]
     
  8. DelcoChix

    DelcoChix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 12, 2009
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    Linda/aka gryeyes...
    No need to laugh at yourself....you are not alone in the chicken boat. This is our first molt/moult/naked chicken experience/whatever, too...but our fluffy Buff Orp., althoguh she looked pretty un-fluffy, looked nowhere near as pathtic as Patty....sigh. Going to the store to buy fish for my chicken--a little bit ironic I think--and a lot funny too.
     
  9. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    On the meatie feed: by all means. Anything that's around.

    I know, a lot of people can't bring themselves to feed their chickens chicken. I'm an old hard-nose; I give it to them all the time. Cooked, of course.... Leftovers are usually chicken food around here. They love my chicken pot pie as well as the grandkids do.
     
  10. greenSearcher

    greenSearcher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 22, 2010
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    If your girls like the thicker greek yogurt, it is simple to make.

    I use 1 gal skim milk, 2 Dannon plain yogurt, 1 C non instant powdered milk. This makes 4 quart and 1 pt jars for about $5.
    illustrated instructions. http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/yogurt_making/YOGURT2000.htm
    I place the jars of yogurt in my food dehydrator at 85 degrees covered with bath towels to thicken it, instead of using a cooler filled with warm water.
    My yogurt is usually finished in less than 4 hours.

    The yogurt will keep for a month, but the last week it will be tangy if it lasts that long.

    If you like thin yogurt reduce or eliminate the powdered milk.
     

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