molt = weight loss & strange behavior?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Alley, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. Alley

    Alley Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 23, 2008
    Eureka, California
    One of my girls is molting and has lost weight. Then last night she tried to roost on the top of th hutch. All of the girls usually start to roost inside the hutch at dusk and I lock them in for the night. When I picked her up to put inside the hutch, I could tell that she hade lost weight. Is this normal? Should she lose weight and have odd behvior during molt? Your thoughts please... I'm worried!
  2. peepacheep

    peepacheep Chillin' With My Peeps

    So glad you posted this question! Have a 17 month old EE hen, Muff, who dropped handfuls of feathers this past week. She also started walking backwards stretching her neck side to side as if the hen apron was bothering her. Took off the apron but that only helped the backward walking somewhat. Muff hunkered in the coop avoiding the other chickens and ate very little for 4 days. Sunday morning she looked miserable, trying to puff her few remaining feathers and shivering so I brought her in the house. Have been putting all sorts of chicken food and treats in front of her, meal worms have been the one food she would clean up, hard boiled egg and can tuna cat food she nibbled on. Tonight is the first time in a week that I can feel food, mostly black oil sunflower seeds, in her crop. Her pin feathers have also started to emerge, everywhere, she looks a bit like a hedgehog. Hoping she is through the worst of the discomfort, she is doing less of the walking backwards. Now I am in a quandary when to put her back in the coop. We are having a very wet week with temps in the low 40's. When it is not raining it is foggy, typical chilly damp November in the NW. Hope your hen goes through her molt a smoothly as possible.
  3. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 14, 2009
    My big girls are in a moult, too. I've been giving them high protein foods to help support good feather growth, and making sure that they are tucked in their little coop at night. The weather has actually felt colder than 40's, but that's the way the thermometer reads. I'm just watching mine carefully, and trying to make sure they eat and drink well. Moulting is very hard on their systems, but for some it is more difficult and physically draining, than others.
  4. VERN

    VERN Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 25, 2010
    I think that it could be something like getting a zit before the prom type of feeling. They suddenly lose feathers and prob stress out from the lose, stop eating and have a mental break down of sorts. I can also remember on the farm as a kid. Every time it rained the free range Roos would go at each other. When their feathers got wet they looked like other chickens and the pecking order was off kilter for a bit. Since she is molting she could of lost her spot in the clan and was forced out.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  5. Alley

    Alley Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 23, 2008
    Eureka, California
    I feel sorry for you... I just can't figure out why she won't go to the hutch at night like she always does and then there's the weight loss. I had no idea it was this hard on them. Poor things...
  6. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    My older chickens are molting. I notice my roo is crowing less and has indeed lost weight. It's hard for me to tell if the Leghorn girls lose weight, but at least they are still acting like their old selves. I sure hope they get done molting soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I checked them for lice, mites, sniffles, etc. poop looks fine, eating and drinking while I watched, nothing else seems wrong. It's got to be the wonky weather or the molting [​IMG]
  7. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    3 of my 18month old girls are in molt--two are full blown naked and acting strange and one is just beginning... The BO who has been in molt the longest started sleeping in the nest box (which she has NEVER done) and being very bossy and mean--something she hasn't done before... They look so skinny--- haven't weighed them.. But they are eating well, I am giving them BOSS and flock grower (it has higher protein levels).. The BO has started to get nice feathers now... None of these three are laying...
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I haven't noticed that mine have dropped weight, but they sure "appear" to have lost weight just by the loss of feathers. But they do get really grumpy, like a woman on PMS. [​IMG] Even the rooster won't go near them.
  9. nuchickontheblock

    nuchickontheblock Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 16, 2010
    south portland, maine
    One of my girls just went through a molt and when you would pick her up she seemed to weigh about half what the other ones did. A couple of week ago, there didn't seem to be all the feathers everywhere and now her feathers are starting to come back in slowly. When she started molting, I gave lots of extra protein snacks especially for her, as she didn't seem too excited about the regular feed. She did prefer to stay in the coop (it's been wet and cold here), but would come out for meal worms. A few days ago her face and comb started to get really red and now she is laying every other day again. [​IMG]
  10. turkeymom

    turkeymom Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 15, 2010
    SE Tennessee
    I have a girl acting like this too. 4-6 weels ago, she lost a bunch of feathers and quit laying. Then, over the past 2 weeks, she's been sort of lathargic and uninterested in food or treats. Hope it's just the molt, but I know I'm worried about my girl.
    Keep us posted about your hen.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by