Hen has stopped laying & is shedding?

breannanaramore

Hatching
Jun 10, 2016
4
0
7
Okay so I have a long one for yall. My hen started brooding a few weeks ago. She is about 3/4 years old. Her eggs were not fertilized. She wouldn't stop brooding! She was laying literally all day in this heat, wouldn't eat or drink, and wouldn't not get off her nest. A friend has had his problem many times and told me to try holding her bottom half in an ice cold bucket of water. It apparently " resets" their system along with bringing their body temp back down. It worked. She stopped brooding! However, she also stopped laying all together. My friends hens always start laying a few days to a week after the ice water. Mine has stopped and she is also shedding all her feathers! Not just one one spot on her body. Her WHOLE body. The bottom of my coop is covered in her feathers. Is she okay? How do I get her laying again? Is she shedding because something is wrong or is she just molting? Did I do something to make her molt? I just want to make sure she's alright. My chickens are my pets! Thanks!
 

Choco Maran

Songster
10 Years
Jul 25, 2009
730
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153
Ribera New Mexico
She is probably molting now. There is no way you made her molt. I have never heard of the ice bucket thing before. I just let mine go broody, it is their way off taking a break. as well as molting. Their system react to them going broody. They will eat and drink when they need to , there is no need to worry about them going broody.
 

21hens-incharge

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BYC Staff
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Mar 9, 2014
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You don't state how old your hen is but I am thinking since she was setting for a while she will need time to get back to laying. I have several broody hens and the longer they set the longer it takes to get back to laying. After being broody hens will have what is called a broody molt.

http://www.grit.com/animals/molting-what-is-it--how-to-help-chickens-get-through-it.aspx
This article has good pics and information on molting.

My hen that has adopted chicks has begun the process of broody molt. She had set in the nest weeks on end 3 times already this year. She is UBER broody so I gave her some chicks that she readily accepted. After having them for a few days she began losing a lot of feathers.
She has lost feathers every time she has gone through a broody phase.

Given time and good nutrition your hen should bounce back.

The cold water treatment is not something I would do myself. I have broke broody hens before using a wire bottomed elevated coop that we had for just that purpose. It is not as sudden or harsh as the water in my opinion.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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My Coop
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Cool water dunk I have heard of, last resort IMO for broody breaking, but in the hot summer, maybe not so bad of an idea.
But ice water?.... not a good idea.....could seriously shock the body.
The shock of the ice water may be what induced such a hard molt...but some birds molt hard anyway (lose many feathers at once).

With her being 3-4 years old, molting this time of year is not unusual, and the fact that she just broke broody (as mentioned above) makes it more normal.
It will just take time and lots of good protein for her to grow new feathers like 21 hens noted...
....and that grit article is pretty good, the pics are excellent.
 

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