Losing feathers in spring

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jenaialynn, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. jenaialynn

    jenaialynn In the Brooder

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    Apr 24, 2017
    Hi this is my first post!

    About this time last year I got two wyandotte (silver laced) and two gold-sex linked chicks. My two wyandotte's have been losing feathers around their neck and wing area for the last couple weeks. I have checked for lice and mites and can't tell anything, and their scales on their feet are fine - nothing popping up or anything.

    They stopped laying eggs in the winter and had restarted in about February, but then they started to lose feathers so they have stopped again. They have some quills coming in and replacing where they have lost feathers. I am curious if this is just some sort of early molt or maybe something else?

    I had their light on through the summer in their coop and through fall, but I actually turned if off for winter as I had started to feel bad about making them over work for eggs, not sure if that information would have any effect on this. Their behavior is fine, they are just a little more skittish to pick up but they still graze and do their thing out in our yard all day :)

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
     
    chickengeorgeto likes this.
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Hard to say for sure.
    Growing new feathers can make them skittish, they don't like to be touched as the pin feathers can be 'uncomfortable'.

    The info about the lighting is important, I'm glad you added it, but more details may help further.
    When did you have the light on(august thru december...or?)
    How many and which hours of the day was it on?
    Tho normally pullets don't molt their first fall, they can have a partial molt and the lighting may have altered that. I have had birds molt in spring when using supplemental lighting in the fall and winter.
     
  3. Where are you or more importantly how far North or South are you from the Equator? Molting is controlled by the amount of Sunlight and molting can also be forced by a short starvation diet. There is also the possibility that your birds are dealing with de-pluming mites which live in the feather follicles and are responsiable for many a good rooster going to freezer camp. Don't try looking for these mites they are only apparent under a microscope.
    aart is telling you the truth, as the chicken gods know the truth.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Forgot that one....yes, knowing your general geographical location would help too.
     

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