Many Birds Losing Feathers After New Additions

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by igoldfarb, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. igoldfarb

    igoldfarb New Egg

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    Mar 30, 2010
    Noblesville, Indiana
    Last month I brought in 4 new pullets, and ever since then 4 of my 7 existing hens have lost a ton of feathers. Is this a sickness? Do chickens molt every year? Could the new pullets have brought something bad into my coop? Help!!
    Thanks,
    Ira G.
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hello Ira! How old are you established hens? If this is their second fall, it's natural for them to molt.

    Pick a few of them up and really look down at the skin near their vent area, and under their wings, to see if you see any insects, like mites or lice.

    Another cause could be they may be too crowded now, and are pulling eachother's feathers out.

    These are just a few suggestions to help you figure out what's going on, and I hope they help,

    Sharon
     
  3. igoldfarb

    igoldfarb New Egg

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    Mar 30, 2010
    Noblesville, Indiana
    Sharon,
    This is the second fall for my Americaunas, but not all of them are molting. I have an older Rhode Island and two White Rocks that are losing feathers as well. I will check to see if there are mites or lice. If so, how would I treat for those types of pests? The new girls and two of my Americaunas appear unaffected by this issue. Thanks for your quick response, I appreciate the help!
    Ira G.
     
  4. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Ira, glad I could help...I do think they're molting. Some of them will look really messy, and even have bald patches sometimes, while others molt slowly, so it's barely noticeable.

    If you do find any mites or lice, I use Seven Dust (Or poultry dust from the farm store), powder them up real good, and then repeat in 10 days. It's a pain in the behind, because you have to powder everybody, and then you really need to gut the whole coop and put all fresh bedding inside.

    From what you describe, since the new girls don't seem to be affected, I'd say most of your flock is in the process of molting.
     
  5. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    I am betting they are molting.


    Each bird seems to have their own time table to do this. Some of mine are done, some in the midst and some just starting. It can be startling to out and see feathers strewn across the ground.



    When you are looking close at your girls, you should - on the more advanced molts - see little quill like things coming in. These are called blood feathers - the quill is filled with blood and a young feather that is growing. Once the feather is a bit more mature, the quill around the feather will flake off and a beautiful feather will emerge.



    For lice - I dust with Seven dust. Make sure you dust them again in 10 days - as this treats any nits (larve) that have hatched from eggs.
     

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