If this is Molting, this is bad...

SuzetteWV

Chirping
Aug 15, 2020
24
45
56
I know there’s been a lot of posts about molting. I have never experienced it before. I have 6 hens, all Americauna’s and about 18 months old. Only one is losing her feathers. When I say losing I mean lost - a lot. No feathers on her rump and underside, around her neck and at base of tail feathers on her back. She looks horrible and sickly and others are pecking at her. Her feathers are everywhere. Why is it only her and why does she seem to be losing so much? I first thought something got after her, but now I don’t think so. I’m afraid she is sick. What else could cause this? If it is molt, how long does it last and how often does it happen? Will my other birds experience this? Is there anything you do differently at this time for your birds. I feel bad and don’t want her suffering. That’s how it looks. Any guidance appreciated!
 

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Artichoke Lover

Free Ranging
Jul 27, 2020
2,166
10,435
656
Southeast US
Can you post pictures? It could be a molt some chickens have very hard molts. But if you don’t see the beginnings of any new feathers it’s probably something else.
 

LaFleche

Meadow Devil
9 Years
Sep 22, 2012
7,328
27,014
932
Germany
I know there’s been a lot of posts about molting. I have never experienced it before. I have 6 hens, all Americauna’s and about 18 months old. Only one is losing her feathers. When I say losing I mean lost - a lot. No feathers on her rump and underside, around her neck and at base of tail feathers on her back. She looks horrible and sickly and others are pecking at her. Her feathers are everywhere. Why is it only her and why does she seem to be losing so much? I first thought something got after her, but now I don’t think so. I’m afraid she is sick. What else could cause this? If it is molt, how long does it last and how often does it happen? Will my other birds experience this? Is there anything you do differently at this time for your birds. I feel bad and don’t want her suffering. That’s how it looks. Any guidance appreciated!
It is often the best layers that molt this way: shedding all feathers at once. After a few days they look like hedgehogs and a week to 10 days later they will have almost all their feathers renewed, but still look somewhat reduced.

What you can do to help is provide a nice cosy box for her to sleep in, if she is unable to fly up to the roost because of the loss of her wing feathers.
And feed them some animal protein in addition to their normal feed and add some vitamins to their drinking water.

All chickens undergo a molt, but some just lose a feather here and there, so you will not really take notice, while others shed almost all at once and look horrible.

A sudden change of feed can cause molt as well, shock (predator) and being kept in the dark.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,661
13,600
536
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
If the other birds are picking on her to the point of open wounds - particularly around the vent - you should consider separating them if possible with a screen, chicken wire, etc so they continue to see one another, just not interact until she feathers back in.


Loosely, there are two "kinds" of molt. There's a hard molt, which may be what you describe (would like to see pictures to eliminate other potential causes), in which the bird rapidly loses, then replaces, its adult plumage. Benefits from a high protein diet while it does so, and expect laying production to either mostly, or completely, stop. Very rapid.

Or, you could have a soft molt. A few feathers here, a few feathers there. Again, high protein diets help, but they are less needed due to slower turnover of feathers. Laying production slows, but rarely stops. OTOH, it can take months to complete a soft molt and regular production to resume. VERY frustrating - I spent most of spring and part of summer this way with near a score of adult birds (many "production" breeds) offering up just 4-6 eggs daily.

and I see you've started a separate thread. Headed there next, in hopes of pictures.
 

SuzetteWV

Chirping
Aug 15, 2020
24
45
56
It is often the best layers that molt this way: shedding all feathers at once. After a few days they look like hedgehogs and a week to 10 days later they will have almost all their feathers renewed, but still look somewhat reduced.

What you can do to help is provide a nice cosy box for her to sleep in, if she is unable to fly up to the roost because of the loss of her wing feathers.
And feed them some animal protein in addition to their normal feed and add some vitamins to their drinking water.

All chickens undergo a molt, but some just lose a feather here and there, so you will not really take notice, while others shed almost all at once and look horrible.

A sudden change of feed can cause molt as well, shock (predator) and being kept in the dark.
Good info thanks! I did just change food but after the molt started. What example of animal protein?
 

MysteryChicken

Unique minded, open minded Chicken Lover
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2018
28,519
57,348
1,141
East, Tawas Michigan
I know there’s been a lot of posts about molting. I have never experienced it before. I have 6 hens, all Americauna’s and about 18 months old. Only one is losing her feathers. When I say losing I mean lost - a lot. No feathers on her rump and underside, around her neck and at base of tail feathers on her back. She looks horrible and sickly and others are pecking at her. Her feathers are everywhere. Why is it only her and why does she seem to be losing so much? I first thought something got after her, but now I don’t think so. I’m afraid she is sick. What else could cause this? If it is molt, how long does it last and how often does it happen? Will my other birds experience this? Is there anything you do differently at this time for your birds. I feel bad and don’t want her suffering. That’s how it looks. Any guidance appreciated!
That's a heavy molt.
 

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