LOST NECK FEATHERS - HELP ME PLEASE. SHE'LL BE MISTAKEN FOR A TURKEY

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Melanie9565, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. Melanie9565

    Melanie9565 Just Hatched

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    So my Cochin, that use to be bully, has recently started losing her neck feathers. I can still see the quills sticking up, but the feathers are off. Some on her tail feathers too. I checked her for mites and didn't see any. She's only 9 months old, so too young to molt. The other hens are fine and have not lost any of their feathers. I am assuming she is being picked on, however I have not seen any outward signs of aggression from the other hens. The coop where they sleep at night have feathers underneath the perch, so maybe she is being picked on at night? There are feathers in the run as well, but as I said, I don't see any outward signs of aggression. She does seem more timid lately around the others and she quit laying eggs about 3 weeks ago. She is also the hen that laid extremely soft shelled eggs, if any shell at all, initially. That was remedied by adding extra protein, which I admit, tapered off once all 4 hens were laying. I have read where protein deficiency can cause feather loss as well. Does anyone have any experience or advice? It is hard to isolate as we live in a small area with not much room. Add to that, we don't even know who could be doing the pecking short of setting up a baby monitor, which would involve running electricity! So.......not sure where to go with this. Could it be boredom! I'm sooooooo out of sorts here!
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    She's not too young to molt. All of my pullets over 8 months old in September where molting last year. And I have two that started to molt at 9 months this fall.
     
  3. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agree with junebuggena. It sounds like a molt but if it is pecking order it is probably happening on the roost. When my chickens roost and they get to close to one another, they'll peck each other until one of them moves.
     
  4. Melanie9565

    Melanie9565 Just Hatched

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    Thank you for your responses! I really didn't think she cou,d be molting. Most of the sites said 18 months is the first molt. I did read they need extra protein and that egg production will stop. Hope this is all it is. I worry about my girls! I'm assuming it takes a bit for the feathers to grow back in? Luckily we are in Southern California so it doesn't get too cold in the day time and their coop is cozy!
     
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    It can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months for a molt to finish. All that can be done is keep that protein intake up. Layer feed should not be available to flocks with molting hens, as the high calcium levels can prove deadly.
     
  6. Melanie9565

    Melanie9565 Just Hatched

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    So if only one hen is molting, but 3 are still laying, what should they be fed? We feed them lay mash right now.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    The 'quills' you are seeing are probably new pin feathers.

    Around 18 months(give or take a couple months) is typical.....
    ....but there are always exceptions and I also have had birds molt at 8-12 months.
    Could be full molt could be a partial.....only time will tell.

    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble full time to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.
     
  8. Melanie9565

    Melanie9565 Just Hatched

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    Aug 21, 2016
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    Thank you for all the information. I'm hoping it's a partial molt around her neck and tail only. But I will watch her for sure!
     

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