Loosing Feathers! I do not think she is molting!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SusanMarie, May 11, 2009.

  1. SusanMarie

    SusanMarie In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2009

    I am new to chickens (have ducks and Guineas). I have a bantam hen that has lost all her feathers on her chest. She seems to be the only chicken loosing feathers (at least this many). Her chest is completely bald all they way under her body. She is trying to set on eggs even though I clear them out regulary, probably getting ready to go broody on me, but I have to solve the feather loss first. Any suggestions?
    Thank You.
    Last edited: May 11, 2009

  2. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    [​IMG] How old is she? If she is around 8 months or so it is not uncommon for them to do a mini molt, where they lose feathers only on their chest, or only on their butt, etc.
  3. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I wonder if she is pulling feathers to help line her nest?
  4. She is probably solf-plucking like my hen, Zipfi.
    We call this brooding and the hen is called a broody.
    Broody hens are problematic unless they are hatching fertilized eggs, because they can spend endless hours on the nest and some refuse to eat or drink properly and lose a lot of weight.

    Some thoughts here-


    Look for Incident 01 on that page.

    Did you want a broody? If so, you have to monitor her closely and treat her differently than the others. If you do not want one, it is imperative to collect eggs swiftly after they are laid and get her back into a flock routine before she 'goes light' and you have to deal with a frail hen.

    Zipfi also ate a few feathers, which is problematic. Later, she had a hay impaction. I now use only shavings in the nest because she tends to cophrography. She is going to be my big challenge!
    Last edited: May 11, 2009

  5. E-Chick

    E-Chick In the Brooder

    Apr 27, 2009
    Quote:I am wondering what's going on with mine as well. Don't mean to thread-jack, but, like SusanMarie (Hi, and welcome!), I'm new to chickens and one of mine is doing the same. Just thought we could pool our issue and answers together Only my hen's problem isn't on her chest area, it's on her back near her main tail feathers.

    All of my same breed year olds have what I think are healthy looking main tail feathers. But, one of them has a bald spot on her back. HOW is this possible? Is it molting or pecking? Doesn't look like trauma or sores or anything like that. [​IMG]

    I'm a chicken idiot at this point, and don't know an Ameraucana from an EE mutt...so, I'll say she's definitely one of those [​IMG]
  6. SusanMarie

    SusanMarie In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2009
    I am feeling hopeful! This hen is around 8 months! It is on her chest only, none of the other hens are doing this, but I have no other hen of her breed to compare her to.

    Sounds like it happens on tail ends:D too, so I know to watch for that as well.

    Thanks for the great help.
  7. SusanMarie

    SusanMarie In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2009
    I have three bantams that are trying to go broody. One of these is the hen loosing feathers. I am not seeing too many feathers in her nest . I just reached under her after she began to sit on eggs and felt nothing but skin.

    I am kicking the broody hens out for several hours a day. After they realize they have been kicked out, then throw a fit, they eventually eat, drink and run around. Should I become more agressive towards this behavior? I am not really set up to have those three isolated away from the nests and still allow the 9 other hens to have access to the nests.

    Any suggestions?

  8. I would say the belly/chest area, completely normal in a hen. She is pulling out feathers so the skin is next to the eggs to keep them warm enough to hatch.

    On the back, or near the tail, totally different.

    Could be from a rooster pulling them out during mating. Could also have mites or lice causing them to lose feathers. Could be another chicken picking/pulling the feathers out. I would check for lice first and go from there!

    Welcome to BYC!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by