Missing Feathers, Missing Eggs

mrssteciw

In the Brooder
Apr 7, 2016
16
6
29
I'm looking for some chicken wisdom- this is my first time raising chickens and my flock is a little over a year old. At the end of the winter/very early spring, I noticed the hens beginning to molt. I didn't notice a huge drop in egg production, but it was winter, so it had been spotty anyway. It's been a couple of months and their feathers seem to be coming in VERY slowly, if at all. Is this normal for molting or should I look at other possible issues?

On top of that, I recently discovered some of my hens were laying in the eaves of their coop (a barn stall) I removed them and blocked access to it, but I'm not getting any more eggs! There's not many places they could be hiding them- they don't free range (we have kids and a dog- too much chaos). I have a broody hen that I need to break, but I'm still getting eggs from my other chickens, so it's not like she's scaring everyone out of the nesting boxes.

I'm sorry for the long post- I just have a feeling that something isn't right but I don't know where to start solving the mysteries. Any insights would be much appreciated!
 

penny1960

Yippity do Da Yippity ay
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Dec 29, 2015
56,144
242,383
1,697
Mossyrock, WA
Hey there Welcome is the first thing I want to say.
She probably has figured another spot to do it they can be tricky that way
you can give them chick starter and yogurt when they molt or lukewarm oatmeal
with their feed extra proteins even cooked egg and break the shells to give back to them is a great start..
 

firestomp

Chirping
Jul 28, 2016
231
113
86
Indianapolis
Have you looked them over real good by the vent and under the wings for anything moving? Certain mites can cause a feather issue, they will preen constantly and could be why they aren't using the nest boxes. Are they healthy and in good condition, active, and bright combs and eyes? If not. could be an internal parasites. Lastly, how many hens do you have with the rooster? He can be very rough on feathers on their backs and shoulder or top of wing areas. I de-spurred mine.A beautiful black australorp. For one he was mean as the devil. couldn't break him from flogging me or anyone for that matter, even have scars and had an infection. He flogged me the last time about 2 months ago. Any ways, use a dremel with a heavy cut off disc, put him on his back and cut the spurs about 1/4 inch from the leg. It won't hurt as they have no nerves in the spur tissue, and there will be no blood, as the disc turns so fast, the heat generated cauterizes the tissue. They will grow back, the same as our nails do. Just some ideas to look at.
 

mrssteciw

In the Brooder
Apr 7, 2016
16
6
29
We are in Easten Pennsylvania and they eat Purina layer pellets with some kitchen scraps thrown in occasionally (leftover scrambled eggs, stuff from the kids' lunches, veggie scraps). I was wondering if I should add protein, but they get scrambled eggs fairly often, I didn't know if it was necessary.

I think I may have to check them for mites or lice. I haven't because they eating, drinking, and behaving normally (bright eyes, energetic, etc). Their combs dulled while I "thought" they were molting but they seem to be back to normal now. The rooster may also be a problem. He's not nice, but not overly aggressive either. I've been thinking about rehoming him as he went after my oldest a few weeks ago when he was in their run. I like having him for flock protection, but I don't see us hatching chicks anytime soon, so maybe the flock would be better off without him hassling them?
 

mrssteciw

In the Brooder
Apr 7, 2016
16
6
29
Oops- and I have 10 hens (plus Mr Rooster).

I'm sure the gang that's hiding their eggs found another spot, I just can't for the life of me figure out where it would be!
 

mrssteciw

In the Brooder
Apr 7, 2016
16
6
29
I can't compare it to anything, but in my opinion, it's not horrible, just some bald patches on their backs and necks (so maybe the rooster). I don't notice blood or any major redness. The broody hen has less feathers, but that's normal? I'll be interested to see what you think when I post the pictures.

Thanks everyone for all of the input! It's relieving to not feel quite so bewildered by these birds!
 

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