Molting... Will they act sickly BEFORE the feathers drop?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BWchicken, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    483
    1
    121
    Jun 4, 2009
    Texas
    I've got 10 bantam hens that just turned a year old (Aug. 10), so this will be their second fall/winter. A couple are showing definite feather loss and replacement, and everyone's feathers are laying all around. I have several different breeds so can tell whose feathers are whose. One of my EEs has been just standing around and resting a lot, although she does still run around and scratch some. I don't see any feathers dropping from her yet. She's not laying due to a short broody stint, but due to start back anytime now. Anyway, I'm assuming she's about to go into a molt like the others and wanted to know if chickens feel a bit under the weather BEFORE the feathers start dropping, and that could be what's causing her not to feel good?
     
  2. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

    4,621
    25
    264
    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Maybe - but also very possible she is ill and needs med attention. Boost their nutrition a lot right now in any case. If you don't already have, get something like Avia Charge 2000 (can order on line) - mix with water to color of weak iced tea - that's a very low concentation but seems to be what the birds can tolerate taste wise. I add it to their water every day except once a month or so when I do ACV instead.
    JJ
     
  3. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    483
    1
    121
    Jun 4, 2009
    Texas
    Thanks for the advice, I have been putting 1/4 tsp of Durvet Vitamins & Electrolytes per gallon of water most of the summer due to the excessive heat. But stopped doing it the last few days when the over 100 degree temps fell back into the 90s. I'll start that up again though. I'm thinking of giving extra protein too to help those in molt. They get 20% protein Flockraiser, but I'm thinking of giving them salmon or mackerel a few times a week for extra protein, plus it's animal protein which Flockraiser doesn't have. My EE seems about the same, still not losing feathers. She's active, but takes rest breaks more often than usual. I'm keeping an eye on her and still hoping it's just the beginnings of a molt.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by