Hens not eating much and losing feathers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by backofthemoontwo777, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. backofthemoontwo777

    backofthemoontwo777 New Egg

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    May 1, 2010
    Mississippi
    Hi, Our 3 hens aren't eating much and are losing their feathers and its 30 degrees outside, should we be concerned?
    Any advice is muchly appreciated [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Losing them from where? How old are they? Do you have roosters? What is your setup?
     
  3. backofthemoontwo777

    backofthemoontwo777 New Egg

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    May 1, 2010
    Mississippi
    mostly on the sides ..we have a really nice chicken coop with 3 nest, and a chicken run. not sure how old ...maybe 1 1/2, we dont have roosters.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    1 1/2 is about the right age for the first major molt. You should see feathers all over the ground if this is what is happening. They could use a bit of a protein boost whether it is from molting or pecking. As for the weather, a lot of people have molting birds right now; half of mine are. We were down in the teens the last couple of nights with wind chills in the singe digits one night. No heat, and a fairly open coop (large areas of hardware cloth) for summer. They are fine. So are my 2 1/2 week old chicks, out running around in this weather with barely any feathers yet.

    When you post in this section it would help a lot if you would answer the questions in the first sticky at the beginning of this section:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=3569

    And here's an article about molting:

    http://msucares.com/poultry/management/poultry_feathers.html
     
  5. backofthemoontwo777

    backofthemoontwo777 New Egg

    4
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    May 1, 2010
    Mississippi
    Thanks DDawn,

    I noticed this afternoon that she has lost feathers around her neck now...the other two look fine [​IMG]

    I was worried about our girls they have been faithful to supply us with eggs, so I want to make sure I'm faithful in keeping them healthy [​IMG]

    Does there eating habits slow during the winter and molting stages ?
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Molting supposedly starts around the head and neck. In some of mine it did. Lots of good pics on here of molting. Mine didn't do it all at the same time either.

    They feel varying degrees of lousy when they are molting. I've read that hens who ordinarily love to be cuddled and held didn't want to be touched when molting. I've read of poor appetite, some weight loss, even some diarrhea. I had one who had a heavy molt who seemed to stay off a bit by herself though she still hung around fairly close to the flock. She wasn't as interested in treats as usual. She is now fully recovered and back to her usual feisty self -- and is really beautiful, such glossy new-looking feathers.

    I just got them eating BOSS so that's a handy protein treat. Before, I did do a little protein supplementing, but not a lot.
     

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