Help! Feather loss!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickenkeeper99, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. chickenkeeper99

    chickenkeeper99 New Egg

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    Dec 7, 2013
    Hi everybody. Lately 2 of my 5 chickens have been experiencing some feather loss. What is this from? Lately we had a raccoon get in our coop but miraculously not kill any of the birds. But it had taken the tail feathers off of the two that are starting to lose feathers. Then the next day a fox had chased the chickens around the inside of the run but the fox was on the outside. It had not managed to get in. Is this form stress? I have pictures attached.
    Thanks!
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  2. BravewingTheHen

    BravewingTheHen Out Of The Brooder

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    May 19, 2013
    My Coop
    Hmm.. They could very well have lost their feathers from stress, but there are a lot of different reasons for feather loss. Like, a lack of food and water, other chickens pecking them, disease, and molting. Have you noticed any of this in your flock?
     
  3. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    How old are your hens? Chickens that are 12-16 months of age usually molt, which means they lose their feathers, stop laying (or at least stop laying as much as usual), and grow in new feathers. They may also develop abnormal behavior, becoming more skittish or tame. Molting often occurs in the fall or early winter, but can occur at any time of year and in any age of chicken. It can be natural, or triggered by stress, such as weather, water deprivation, disease, or predators. If your hens are nearing a year of age (or are older--chickens molt annually), and have been stressed out by the fox, I would not be surprised if this feather loss is due to molting.
     
  4. chickenkeeper99

    chickenkeeper99 New Egg

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    Dec 7, 2013
    But why is it only 2 of my hens?
     
  5. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Not all chickens molt at the same time; some may molt when they're younger or earlier in the year, and other may molt when they're older. And some chickens are simply easier to stress out than others--while some of your hens may have been fine with the fox, the ones that are molting may just be birds with different personalities. Right now, out of my chickens, only about 1/3 of them are molting, and they're all basically the same age.
     
  6. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Chickens molt at different times. Some birds will go for over a year without molting, while others molt for their first time when they are seven months old or so. For example, my Columbian Wyandotte started molting in August, while my Rhode Island Red hasn't even started yet.
     

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