molting or feather picking?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by suenotto, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. suenotto

    suenotto Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 27, 2010
    Limeport
    I have 3 chickens, 2 pullets and 1 older bird, likely 3 years old. The older chicken has always looked "scruffy" but now she's losing a lot of feathers. I noticed it about 2 weeks ago. The older bird is at the bottom of the pecking order and although the other 2 chase her off when I throw down scratch, but I've never seen them pull her feathers out. They have a large coop (plenty of room to get away from them in the coop) they share at night and are free range during the day. Every day I notice more and more feathers gone off her. I noticed at first they were missing around her neck. I'm hoping she's molting but the loose feathers I have inspected look bitten or chewed, not pristine as I have read that molted feathers look otherwise perfect. I see no blood or raw skin on her, but she's missing almost all her tail feathers now and looks worse than ever. What should I do, if anything? Its getting cold here in PA, she needs feathers!

    Is there any way to tell for sure its a molt or not? I have treated the coop for mites with a pesticide spray (I noticed a couple of redish brown specks on an egg recently), but I saw no mites and none of the other birds or ducks (all healthy and young) seem to be affected.

    Thanks for your help.

    Susie
     
  2. suenotto

    suenotto Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 27, 2010
    Limeport
    no takers?
     
  3. hoosier

    hoosier Chillin' With My Peeps

    The reddish brown specks on the eggs are not related.
    I am guessing she is moulting. I have some the same age that look quite ragged and the coop looks as if there has been a massacre.
     
  4. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    Good morning Suenotto. From what you describe it sounds like your hen's feather loss is due to a molt. Here are 2 links that hopefully will help you figure out why your hen is losing her feathers. This one describes the molting process: http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/27_2709.htm and this one is a fact sheet that will help you determine whether your hen has mites or lice, which can also cause feather loss: http://ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/0018.html I don't have a lot of experience with chickens, but I do have a hen molting right now, and she has a lot of dander from the molting process and she preens herself more frequently than usual (it appears she is itchy). Could this be an explanation for your hen's feathers looking chewed? Perhaps someone with more experience will have additional advice for you.
     
  5. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

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    Jun 11, 2010
    York PA
    It does sound like she is molting. I would increase their protien to help the process along. The other pullets might be "chewing" on the feathers after they fall out to get extra protien as well. I mix game bird grower in with my layer food and offer oyster shell. I had a feather picking problem when I first brought home my Ameraucanas. Poor roo had hardly any feathers on his butt. After increasing the protien, the feather picking stopped and he is growing a beautiful tai back. Hope this helps!
     
  6. suenotto

    suenotto Out Of The Brooder

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    39
    Jul 27, 2010
    Limeport
    yup, thanks
     

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