Hen lost all her feather, has saggy skin and seems to have lost weight

emhalloran

Chirping
Jan 28, 2016
61
19
76
Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Hi everyone,
I have a hen as recently lost most of her feathers, her whole tail fell out in one day! She recently was broody and it took me over a month to break her broodiness. I've noticed she has lots of saggy skin around her breast and under her body. I also noticed she hasn't got much in her crop when she roosted tonight. She seems to be happy enough in herself, scratching with the flock although she is towards the bottom of the pecking order.

I have a feeling she is just having an extreme moult but I'm just worried something isn't right as she hasn't moulted to that extent before. Should I be giving her some grower feed rather than just layer pellets? I am thinking of taking her to our chicken vet just to get her checked but not sure if it is necessary?
Any recommendations would be much appreciated
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
24,608
36,224
1,122
Colorado Rockies
If you post a closeup of her skin and bald spots, we could better assess what might be going on.

If it's molt, you will see lots of uniform prickly pin feathers poking out of the bald spots. If all you see are vast areas of completely smooth bald skin, you probably have a hen that has serious organ failure from genetic or pathological causes.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,971
832
California's Redwood Coast
Hi, Hope you are enjoying BYC! :frow

It's sooo frustrating to have a broody that is THAT hard to break. :barnie

Sudden loss like that does indicate molt as a possibility. And my gals often molt after being broody. A pic can go a long way to telling a story, if you're able to post one. But the other part that you already told indicates it might JUST be molt. Foraging and eating still with the flock. Molt will often make them SLIGHTLY withdrawn from flock dynamics, their demeanor changes and are a little more sporadic. Look quite haggard and usually even my lap pet girls avoid my lap until molt is nearly complete. I'm guessing because they are very uncomfortable. They do usually look like they have lost a bit of weight as well.

Yes, 100% I like to feed higher protein and lower calcium than "Layer" to my gals who are molting Since feathers are made of 90% protein and it's amino acids and more than 3% calcium, if fed "long term" *can* (doesn't mean will) cause kidney failure or gout.

Since my flock has all genders and ages including broody's, molter's, layers, chicks, roosters, and grow outs... I use Purina Flock Raiser with 20% protein and 1% ish calcium with oyster shell free choice on the side for layers, full time. I NEVER switch to layer. I have no brand loyalty and go according to the nutritional analysis that closest fits the needs of MY flock, AND is readily available in my area at a price point I can accept, AND has an acceptable ingredients list as well. Aside from these reasons... I also have dual purpose birds, who do best on 18+ % protein... the 16% of *most* layer feeds is the MINIMUM for light bodied layers like leghorn.

You can use a "grower" if you like. Or even unmedicated starter. Those are all just confusing terms! The KEY differences in them are the protein and calcium levels. Beyond that the slight vitamin differences won't have major impact.

Hope she recovers quickly! :fl
 

emhalloran

Chirping
Jan 28, 2016
61
19
76
Adelaide Hills, South Australia
If you post a closeup of her skin and bald spots, we could better assess what might be going on.

If it's molt, you will see lots of uniform prickly pin feathers poking out of the bald spots. If all you see are vast areas of completely smooth bald skin, you probably have a hen that has serious organ failure from genetic or pathological causes.

Thanks so much for your
 

emhalloran

Chirping
Jan 28, 2016
61
19
76
Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Thanks for your responses everyone!
Azygous I will post a photo of her skin in just a moment. From what you have said she has the pin feathers all over her.

chickens really, I will definitely put her in some grower feed

Eggsighted4life, I know I have four hens that go broody all the time ...so frustrating...usually I give in and let them hatch chicks

From what you have written I am almost entirely convinced she is moulting! Thanks so much for your help!

I will keep you all updated in her progress!
 

emhalloran

Chirping
Jan 28, 2016
61
19
76
Adelaide Hills, South Australia
80F0856A-EB08-41A9-9503-4971594B29F0.jpeg
 

emhalloran

Chirping
Jan 28, 2016
61
19
76
Adelaide Hills, South Australia
An update on my hen, she has new feathers starting to grow all over her which is a good sign....looks like she was just moulting! :)

She is still coming out of the coop hanging out with her flock mates and is eating a lot!

Thanks again for all your help!
 

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