Molting vs pecking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hockeygirl56, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. hockeygirl56

    hockeygirl56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 21, 2011
    Allenton, MI
    I have 6 hens (2 BO, 2 EE, and 2 SLW) that are in a 6x14 coop with a 10x14 run attached. I have been noticing since Oct that a few of them looked a little thin on their butts, but looked on here then and saw that was a normal time to molt and they looked like the pictures. However, it's continued and seems to be worse for some. I have noticed that one of my BOs has no feather loss at all, the other BO has some scraggly looking feathers on her rump but none missing, and everyone else is missing all the regular feathers along the rump with one EE looking the worst. I was petting her the other day and noticed pokey feathers - assuming broken? I'm starting to wonder if it's more of a pecking thing than a molt. I'm not willing to get rid of anyone, as these girls are my pets as well as egg-layers. Does anyone have any suggestions as to which of the two this might be, and what I can do to stop it if it is pecking?
    I've seen some suggestions about boredom - they haven't been able to go out and free-range as often lately as it gets dark sooner, and I only let them completely out to do this when I'm home. I do try to keep them busy by throwing random veggies in there (have pumpkins cut in half in there for them to go for lately), and I've been tossing in a little corn once or twice a day for them to dig for. The run isn't much fun right now thanks to the weather, so I'm trying to keep the inside entertaining. I would appreciate any opinions/suggestions! Thanks!
     
  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Hi Hockeygirl56,

    is there a possibility that the pokey feathers are the feathers beginning to grow back from the molt? The shafts are sometimes like quills...sort of.

    consider getting a Forage Cake or a Flock block. Because the seeds etc. are embedded the chicken needs to figure out how to get the food out. It is like their natural foraging, and can occupy their minds for awhile. I put mine in a suet cage and attach to the side of the run---so it doesn't get walked/pooped on. Another thing my chickens love is the little wire cage that I put lettuce in. They will definitely come running for that.

    Good luck
     
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    If they feel like a porcupine, it's a molt. Here is a girl that went through a particularly hard molt.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  4. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Quote:OMG Happy Chooks, she looks like the chicken that got caught in the tornado in the wizard of Oz after she escaped the tornado. But once the quills turned into feathers, I'll bet that she was a very pretty chicken.
     
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    39,704
    1,235
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    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    She's filled back in now, but not laying again yet. Her comb is still shriveled - she's puffed up here cuz it was cold.
    [​IMG]
     

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