Hen losing feathers, not molting

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Swells, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. Swells

    Swells New Egg

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    Jul 2, 2016
    I have an Australorp hen that is losing feathers on her neck and belly. She's not molting and seems to be free of mites. Her skin is clear and white. What could be causing this?
     
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC.

    Photos will be helpful.

    Do you have a rooster?
    Do the feathers look like they are being plucked by a member of the flock?
    How old is she?
    Is she laying any eggs?

    Australorps have white skin, so that is fine. Check for any signs of being plucked/picked on - observe your flock and the interactions between her and the members of your flock.

    Is she acting normally-eating, drinking, pooping, active - no signs of illness such as lethargy, laying down, etc.?
     
  3. Swells

    Swells New Egg

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    Jul 2, 2016
    Hi. Thanks for the reply. No she's not acting normally. She's holed up in a nest box and not coming out to eat. I've never noticed her being bullied by the other hens and there are no raw places on her. There is no rooster in the pen with her. I'll try to post pictures tomorrow.
     
  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Is she by any chance broody?

    Does she flatten out like a pancake, puff up and screech and carry on when you approach her?
    A broody will pluck her own feathers of her chest/belly.
     
  5. Swells

    Swells New Egg

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    Jul 2, 2016
    She does puff up but not screech. She's doing a low clucking sound pretty constantly. I had two other broody hens in that same flock. I gave them several weeks to get over it then put them in with another flock to break them out of it. I didn't think the current hen was broody because she was coming out of the nest and interacting with the other hens even after she started losing her feathers, but then as the feather loss got worse, she starting the hiding in the nest box. I think I will separate her out tomorrow and see if I can help her get better.
     
  6. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Southern N.C. Mountains
    If she is broody she will leave the nest for a short period of time to poop, eat, drink and take a dust bath, then back to the nest. She could be showing signs of being broody, but not completely committed to it yet either.
     
  7. Swells

    Swells New Egg

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    Jul 2, 2016
    I hope that's what it is. These are young hens that just started laying back in September. Seems odd for them to go broody so soon. They've been monster layers up until now. The ones I pulled out of that pen seemed to have adopted broodiness as a lifestyle choice. Is a week long enough to leave them in the other pen to break them out of it?
     
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Is she lethargic at all?
    Is she eating/drinking/pooping/

    Separating her out will be best so you can determine if she is indeed broody or if she has an illness.
    This will also let you monitor her food/water intake and her dropping to see if there's anything abnormal.

    Here's some info on breaking your broody:
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/05/broody-breaker-when-hens-mood-to-hatch.html
    http://hencam.com/henblog/2012/07/good-broody-bad-broody/
    http://hencam.com/henblog/2012/04/what-to-do-about-a-broody/

    Here's some poop info:
    http://hencam.com/henblog/2013/04/a-foul-fowl-poop/
    http://chat.allotment-garden.org/index.php?topic=17568.0
     

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