Molting? Also lack of interest in feed since free ranging?

newchck

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Apr 20, 2020
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Hi all, my hen, Big Girl, is acting her normal self, but she just looks pitiful! We moved about a month ago, and since then they have all been free ranging instead of being in a run. (We have 4 RIR and 3 Easter Eggers) I noticed feathers all over the yard, and it became obvious all are from her. There are no signs of injuries or pecking. She hasn't laid and egg in probably about a week or two, but again is acting pretty normal. I have noticed now that our hens are ranging they show about 0 interest in feed. Is this normal? Can you tell from the photos if this seems to be a molt? Thanks!
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newchck

Songster
Apr 20, 2020
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Midwest
Here are pictures of her before! (Probably months old) I had to include the one where she played in the rain bc it cracks me up!
 

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6BeachChicks

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Do they have a pen where you could put them in with their feed? My girls stuff themselves on grass until their little crops are full!
One of my girls has no tail feathers at all, she sure looks funny.🤣
 

newchck

Songster
Apr 20, 2020
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Midwest
Do they have a pen where you could put them in with their feed? My girls stuff themselves on grass until their little crops are full!
One of my girls has no tail feathers at all, she sure looks funny.🤣
we lock them into the coop at night. I took the food out of the coop to keep pests away, and instead we have been feeding them in the same spots twice a day. Is this a bad method to feed? I literally just fed them (all of them were about 2 feet from me) thinking maybe she wasn't getting enough feed, and they totally ignored it, walked over it and went away.
 

6BeachChicks

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Sometimes chickens get spoiled! Why would they eat pellets if they could wait and eat grass? I know because I had a minor case of this.
Try to give them food in an intriguing new dish, and maybe moisten it if they still won’t eat.
 

rosemarythyme

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Probably a molt, a light one. It's normal for chickens to not lay near/during molt.

If they're free ranging they're probably enjoying all the goodies out there that they can find to eat. Continue to put out feed for them.

If you want to force them to eat some of the feed, then they'll need to be confined at least part of the day away from the free range area (so either a run, or inside the coop if it's roomy and ventilated enough).
 

aart

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Can you tell from the photos if this seems to be a molt?
Looks like it. How old is this birds, in months?

I took the food out of the coop to keep pests away, and instead we have been feeding them in the same spots twice a day.
They should have access to feed every hours they are awake.
What kind of pests?
 

newchck

Songster
Apr 20, 2020
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Midwest
Probably a molt, a light one. It's normal for chickens to not lay near/during molt.

If they're free ranging they're probably enjoying all the goodies out there that they can find to eat. Continue to put out feed for them.

If you want to force them to eat some of the feed, then they'll need to be confined at least part of the day away from the free range area (so either a run, or inside the coop if it's roomy and ventilated enough).
Thank you! I am honestly not too worried about them getting lots of feed, they tend to go and clean up the mess of corn the cows and sheep leave :) But if they start to decrease in laying / seem sickly I will make sure to set up a run to make sure they are getting some feed!
 

newchck

Songster
Apr 20, 2020
207
383
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Midwest
Looks like it. How old is this birds, in months?


They should have access to feed every hours they are awake.
What kind of pests?
They are all 18 months old. Mainly rats and mice, but this property has had a history of weasels as well (though I know the feed doesn't have much to do with weasels)
 

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