Loosing lots of feathers - can anything be done?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lisebarb, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. lisebarb

    lisebarb Chillin' With My Peeps

    My girls started to molt this fall. Egg production fell by 75% - I have 4 hens and was only getting one egg a day.[​IMG]

    Now it seems that the others aren't loosing as many feathers as before but my white hen Meringue, is loosing tons of feathers and they all seem to be coming from her chest. I can't see it being that the others are picking on her because she is the "boss". Do you think she's doing this to herself?

    They are now in their winter coop with a heat lamp and they are getting extra food. We've had a few 32 degree nights but no snow or anything - just cold enough for us here to provide them with heat.

    Is this normal? Should I be worried? Do you think my girls will start laying again when they stop molting? They just started laying a few days before Christmas last year. Any advice? [​IMG]
    Thanks, Barb.
  2. Year of the Rooster

    Year of the Rooster Sebright Savvy

    Jun 27, 2008
    West Central Ohio
    Some chickens molt harder than others, so I wouldn't be too worried. Just give her high protein food (sunflower seeds, scrambled egg, etc.) and make sure she doesn't get too cold. Eventually they will lay again after their molt, but considering how short the days are getting and how many eggs you are getting now, it all depends on the hen. Overall, shorter days equals less eggs anyways. Just make sure they stay healthy and warm and they should be fine [​IMG]
  3. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    She could be having a late moult or another moult due to the change in environment from the heat lamp. Moults can also be forced during stress. I don't think it's anything to worry about unless you see obvious signs of pecking or blood drawn. Have they been checked over for mites? That is the only other thing that I can think of that would cause an issue. Watch to make sure she gets new quills and she should be fine.

    As for laying, if you don't provide extra light they won't typically restart laying until spring. Although, some do resume right after their moult is finished. It varies by bird, but I wouldn't count on 100% production until day length starts increasing again and is above 12 hours a day.
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    My buttercup is molting really bad. She has lost all feathers on her head, neck, chest and the spot to each side of her tail. She's also lost all but 3 of her tail feathers. I picked her up yesterday to check on her (which is not an easy task) and when you hold her all you feel is the pins the feathers come out of. Her whole underside is pins. She looks really pathetic.

    And to top it off, we got to freezing last night. (had to pick the ice out of the outside waterer) I was worried about her keeping warm, so I gave all the girls warm oatmeal this morning.
  5. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Could Meringue be going broody, and pulling out her own chest feathers?

    Imp- what everyone else said.
  6. lisebarb

    lisebarb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks Brad,
    I have a little light for inside the coop that's on a timer. That light comes on 2 hours before dawn to make their "day" a little longer.

    I'll try the sunflower seeds. I have to go to the co-op for more feed anyway so I'll see if they have the sunflower seeds.
    Thanks again, Barb.[​IMG]

  7. srodems

    srodems Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2009
    Ben Lomond, CA
    Thanks everyone. I am going through the same situation and was concerned about tonight...suppose to be in the high 20's low 30's, and I have one RIR (Fiesty) who is loosing feathers like crazy. Also have two Aurstralorps that are moulting in a more patchy style, around the head mainly so far. Fiesty seems to have started moulting about three days ago, and is leaving clouds of feathers behind, and no eggs. I will be sure to give them some heat tonight.

    This website in invaluable when it comes to information. I have had the moulting girls for a about 1.5 years (they were the first chickens I ever owned), and now have an additional three that will start laying soon. Always seem to find the information I need right here. All six girls are healthy and happy and the older three a little patchy right now...we have been temporarily calling Shy Girl "Baldy" poor thing, as if it isn't bad enough that she is looking like a Turkey!

    Thanks Again for the input!
  8. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    I switched mine to 22% gamebird feed to help with the molt. A couple of the girls are really sad looking right now and it's been pretty cold here.
  9. tenderkat

    tenderkat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Is there a predictable schedule for molting? My girls were born in March, so I'm just curious when to expect it. I really hope it's not anytime soon, it's bitter cold outside!!
  10. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Quote:Mine hatched at the end of Feb. I wasn't expecting it this soon.

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