Hens losing feathers, doesn't look like a molt

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sphillips, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. sphillips

    sphillips Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've got a few hens about 25 weeks old who since yesterday have started losing their 'real' feathers on their backs, and just have fuzz now, like what is usually on their butts. They act fine, but was wondering if this was some type of molt? They have just now started laying, so if this is a molt, why now, and will they stop laying? I believe there are a few that haven't even laid their first egg yet? Is this bad timing on my part as far as having chickens that start laying in the fall? If they are molting what do I need to do for them to keep them healthy? Could this be something else?
     
  2. BorneHomestead

    BorneHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have a rooster in your flock? If so the rooster mounting the chickens can tear out their back feathers. You could also have a parasite which can cause a hen to lose feathers as well.
     
  3. sphillips

    sphillips Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have one rooster, 28 hens. I thought that ratio would be 'safe' for my hens. Mr. Foghorn Leghorn wasn't supposed to be a rooster, but since he's the only one, I've kept him. I'm going to try to post a few pictures here to show what I'm seeing. What kind of parasite could it be?
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    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
  4. BorneHomestead

    BorneHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After seeing the photo it doesn't look like parasites would cause that, looks more like the rooster is giving her extra lovin. You may want to invest in a chicken saddle to help protect her back.
     
  5. sphillips

    sphillips Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've got about five barred rocks, and my golden wyandottes that have this problem. I haven't noticed it with my leghorn hens, bit a few of my speckled Sussex are starting to show signs. May be time to get rid of the rooster. I'll wait to see what others may have for input, but I sure do appreciate your responses. I'm new to this.
     
  6. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes is rooster damage. The outer feathers are the first to go. leaving the downy under feathers showing, then they go as well. It really doesn't matter how many hens you have, there will always be favorites that get the wear and tear. What you do or don't do about it depends on what your goals are for you flock.
     
  7. sphillips

    sphillips Chillin' With My Peeps

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    UPDATE: Mr. Foghorn Leghorn has been rehomed to a nice man who has lots of free range chickens, and seems to have quite a bit of knowledge about them. He went to a good home, so I feel good about that. Will see how my hens react now. Lately they had seemed to be more stressed and jumpy. Thanks everyone for your input, I really appreciate it. : )
     
  8. swjfos

    swjfos Out Of The Brooder

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    Can anyone tell me what their opinion could be on why one of my hens is losing her feathers down to the skin. She also feels really heavier than the other two. She has been wormed and treated for mites even though i didnt see any.
     
  9. BorneHomestead

    BorneHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    where is she losing feathers at? knowing that can help narrow down why she is losing feathers
     
  10. SD Bird Lady

    SD Bird Lady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Also does she seem to be retaining fluid or do you feel any masses? She may just be a heavier bird but it could also point to something internal
     

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