Lots of feathers???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by momma chickie, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. momma chickie

    momma chickie Out Of The Brooder

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    About 5:30 am I heard my hens fussing...not frantic cackles but definitely upset. They roost in a covered 6X12x6 chain link pen. When I went out I saw quite a number of feathers in and out of the pen and hens were all by the gate...I let them out and when one ruffled her feathers on my porch she dropped a bunch more feathers...it is not time for moulting...I wonder if the get scared do they drop feathers?
    Only thing I can figure is something must have startled them off of their roost as I dont imagine anything significant can get in. We do have rats but they have never bothered the hens before and I remove access to food and water to discourage their visits anyway.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
  2. minihorse927

    minihorse927 Whipper snapper Premium Member

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    Rats can and will attack chickens. Here where I'm at everyone is molting, are you in a different climate or are they too young for molting?
     
  3. momma chickie

    momma chickie Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm in California...when they molt do they just suddenly start dropping feathers? When I had chickens as a kid I thought it was iver a little time. Mine are 6-7 months.
     
  4. minihorse927

    minihorse927 Whipper snapper Premium Member

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    6 to 7 months is far too young for adult molting. I would say something pulled some feathers loose on that bird. They typically are done with juvenile molts by that age. They shouldn't do their adult molt in 18 months.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am seeing something related with feather loss that is not typical. Birds may have already molted. A couple of free-range hens appear to have gotten sick roughly 2 weeks ago, causing one to abort incubation cycle. Both hens were decidely lethargic for about one week before feathers were lost in mass. Both hens returning to strengh an pen feathers incredibly evident. One hen appear thermally stressed and spends most of day when not feeding in an elevated location that is in the sun. This massive loss is not typical.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I just had a hawk attack my chickens! I was in the squash patch and they were all just twenty feet away, minding our own business when I caught a glimpse of a hawk dive bombing them and flying back up into the tree tops.

    They all scattered, and I was losing my mind. Most of them had raced for the run, but a few were too far away. That included nine week old Ladybug, a Cream Legbar, and Linda, her Speckled Sussex broody mama. I saw Linda heading for the run but not the chick. I got everyone back into the run, and did a head count, paying attention to finding Ladybug.

    Everyone was accounted for except Ladybug! I was going out of my mind with grief. I looked in the run, in both coops, and couldn’t find her. Then I remembered the time a hawk killed my Buff Brahma Cleo and the four Sussex were just chicks. I couldn’t find them for a couple hours until I caught a glimpse of them hiding, wedged between my wood barrels on the front porch.

    So I went back to where I’d last seen Linda and her chick messing around, and I found Ladybug, very much alive, wedged in between two bales of straw. She barely fit, and was still as a rock. I coaxed her out and she ran for the coop with her little neck feathers sticking straight out from her neck.

    I did a final head count and I have every one of them, heads all intact.

    Home team 24, hawk 0.
    c
     
  7. momma chickie

    momma chickie Out Of The Brooder

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    I know it was not owl, hawk, coyote or other large predator because they cant get in...could it be a stress response or frantic flapping around in the dark? I am going back to double penning them, in the coop that is in the enclosed pen.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Could you show a picture of feather loss? I am not used to chickens dumping feathers in mass unless predator actually pulls them out.
     
  9. momma chickie

    momma chickie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2016

    Feathers under the roost when I went out[​IMG]

    Feathers by the gate and feeder
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Feathers inside coop where I put them until daylight...they kept shaking out feathers[​IMG]

    The 2 hens the feathers came from
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The cackle they made was an alarming one but not the one of "I'm being killed" and when I got out there they were not frantic and had even started eating...just so odd.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    My gut feeling is feather-loss not related to a predator. Assume I am wrong but what are you feeding birds?
     

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