Molting or Injury?!?!?!

CJkid

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 19, 2012
113
6
91
Montana
Almost all my hens have looked like they are going through molting. But it has been several months.
I'm wondering if it is just molting or if they are having their feathers pulled out and what I can do about it.
Mostly the feathers are missing from their backs and shoulder area, some are worse than others. I've noticed that their backs have gotten scratched when the rooster breeds them.
Is this just normal molting, if it is then when will their feathers grow back, the temps are going to start to cool off and winter is coming. What can i do to help their feathers, is there a supplement or type of food that will help?
If it is cause they are picking on each other what should I do?

Any ideas and help much appreciated!
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Pyxis

Hatchi Wan Kenobi
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That's a result of the rooster mating with them a lot. If you don't have enough hens per rooster, it can happen. Sometimes it's only some girls that it happens to because the rooster likes them more. That's happened to some girls in my flock. If it's ALL the girls in your flock, I'd say you don't have enough hens for you rooster. So the solution would be to get more hens, get rid of the rooster, or buy or make hen saddles for all your girls. A couple people sell them on this site in the 'Everything Else' section of the Buy Sell Trade forums. Good luck!
 
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CJkid

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 19, 2012
113
6
91
Montana
Well as far as that goes i have 23 hens and 1 rooster.... i think he's got enough girls
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Pyxis

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I would think so too! Wow, he's a lucky boy. Still, that really sounds like either he's doing it or one of the others is pulling them. You might want to just sit and watch them for a whole day when you have a chance and see what's going on. Who knows, maybe you'll get lucky and catch whoever's doing it and can get rid of her or isolate her for a while. Or maybe it really is your rooster and he's just mating way too much? I really don't think it's molting since they lost the feathers months ago and they haven't come back.

The only other thing I can think of is that sometimes they will eat each others' feathers if they don't have enough protein in their diet.
 
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CJkid

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 19, 2012
113
6
91
Montana
ok thanks for the advice... i hope i can find out the cause soon.
wow i didn't know they would eat each others feathers
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is there something that works good to boost their protein? or should i mix in meatbird with their layer feed?
also i don't quite understand the molting process, how does it look when it is molting?
 

Pyxis

Hatchi Wan Kenobi
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When molting, they'll either lose some feathers here and there and grow them back (you'll see them growing back, and they'll be covered by a sheath because when growing they have a blood supply - the new feathers coming are called pinfeathers) or they can also have explosive molts, where they lose TONS of feathers at once, but they start coming back in fairly quickly. It certainly wouldn't take months between when they lost them and when they come back. Actually, check out this thread. Lots of good pictures here:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...t-pictures-fall-winter-2012-winners-announced
 

CJkid

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 19, 2012
113
6
91
Montana
Thank you so much for the advice
hugs.gif
it has been very helpful.
after looking at the link i can tell you are right, mine are not molting.
i was surprised when this started, we have had our chickens for about a year and 1/2, this was never a problem before,
i hope i can catch the culprit.
do you think it would help to give them more protein i.e. mix meatbird in with their layer feed?
 

Pyxis

Hatchi Wan Kenobi
Project Manager
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9 Years
Mar 27, 2012
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Glad to help :) The meatbird feed would help if it's a protein deficiency. You can also get them more protein by scrambling their eggs and feeding them back to them, or, as strange as this sounds, they will eat chicken and turkey and other meats if you offer them.


I think it's also possible that one or more of your birds is a feather plucker and is pulling their feathers out just for fun. To stop that you'd have to catch her/them and separate them, or go for the hen saddles.


Either way, let me know how they do!
 

CJkid

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 19, 2012
113
6
91
Montana
Thanks... good to know, i'll be keeping a closer eye on them.
I'll be sure to update you as to how things turn out.
Thanks again
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