Is it "normal" to moult this way?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by krista74, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Greetings all [​IMG]

    I have a Buff Orpington Hen who is approximately 14 months old. She had what I would call a relatively mild moult about 4 months ago, where she lost some feathering around her neck and undercarriage. The rest of her looked a bit tatty, like an old teddy bear that had been loved on too much, but she regrew the missing neck feathers and freshened herself up, and life returned to normal.

    About 4 weeks ago she underwent surgery for a severely impacted crop. She came through the surgery well, and six days ago had her stitches removed. She lost about 300 grams in body weight post surgery which the vet said 'was to be expected.'

    Two days ago I went down to the coop, and one of two things have happened. Either there was a massive pillow fight overnight, or she has dropped a mass of feathers. There are little Buff feathers everywhere! I can't quite tell where she has lost them from yet - the rooster is being very protective of her, since last time I went near her she disappeared to the vet's surgery for days! But what I can tell you is that she looks all raggy again. She does not look like the near-naked chickens you see from time to time on this site - she just looks shaggy!

    Her behaviour is a little 'off.' She is eating, although not quite as voraciously as before - but that was the case right after surgery anyway. Last night she was on the roost 'hunched' and I expected to have to isolate her today, but she was the first one to spring out of the coop this morning and is now walking around scratching and being 'chickeny.' She has not laid an egg for several months, however she does not exhibit the signs of being egg-bound. Even when she was laying she was sporadic at best, giving only one or two eggs a week.

    I can confirm that the whole coop, the nest boxes and the hens have all had a thorough treatment for lice and mites - as a preventative measure, not because I think they were infested. It is not rooster damage - they all wear aprons, and I've seen rooster damage on them before. There are no bare patches, just thinning of the feathers in general. There is no sign of lice or mites and I have not seen any feather picking. In fact, she is the head hen. Finally, there are no red patches on her skin anywhere.

    They are fed a proper layer pellet and free range every couple of days.

    So, is this a normal moulting pattern? Your thoughts would be appreciated.

    - Krista
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    It may very well be a 'stress related' molt. Keep an eye on her and make sure that she is getting enough to eat.
     
  3. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK, thank you, I will do that. We do have three separate feed and water stations so there is no excuse for her not to be able to get to one. And as I said, she is the head hen and the rooster's best girl, so if anyone is getting the food - she should be!

    But I will keep an eye on her though. Obviously she is at a bit of a disadvantage since she had surgery. Maybe I'll try and sneak her a little extra protein each day too.

    - Krista
     
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Good idea on the extra protein.
     

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