Moult is to Hen as Menopause is to Woman?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MammaHen, May 6, 2009.

  1. MammaHen

    MammaHen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2008
    Knysna, South Africa
    My totally free range RIR's are 13 months and look appalling. Look thin, lost heaps of feathers and generally look terrible compared to my 7 month old pullets. They are still eating like mad, behave normally, still laying and don't have mites etc. Should I be worried or is it normal to look so dreadful when they're in moult? One of the hen's is obviously very popular as she has lost alot of feathers in addition to the roosters pulling out what feathers were left on ber back/shoulders. Starting to look raw and uncomfortable. Would it be cruel to lock her inside another shed (with a window, food and water obviously!) until she regained some feathers? My rooster ratio is 5:80 so I don't think thats the problem. Well having said all of this, none of it resembles menopause symptoms in any way - especially the looking thin,behaving normally and being very popular...
  2. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    You might need saddles for the girls who are popular with the roosters. They tend to have favorites, so she may be over-mated, despite your good ratio.

    Menopause is a totall cessation of menstruation. A molt is a temporary stop to producing eggs while the body devotes energy to creating new feathers. I've heard they look pretty bad during a molt (haven't experienced one yet), so I wouldn't worry about it yet. Do check for worms, though, as this may be a clue as to why they've gotten skinny.
  3. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    If you have checked for other possibilities, and you are in the fall season over there, you may indeed have a moult on your hands. While moulting is normal, it is very hard on a chicken's system and it uses up all their energy. You might find hens much less active and more grumpy. You might find them shivering if the weather gets chilly.

    You can help them a great deal by providing some extra protein sources, either by adding a bit of chick feed to the moulting hens' ration or adding another food that contains protein. This will help their bodies grow feathers more quickly.

    My hens craved MEAT. Red meat. So . . . every couple of days I provided them a handful of some finely chopped, cooked meat (luckily DH craves meat, too). I also provided sunflower seed kernels, yogurt, and other goodies.

    Here's a link to my blog on one of my hens in her moulting process - - and in these she's already growing feathers back!

    Hope that info helps. Please keep us posted on how they fare. Good luck! [​IMG]

    [Ed. to add - Some breeders alternate days they turn the roosters out with the hens, with no effect on fertility. You could also pen your baldest hen with one or two friends until they regrow some feathers back. . .]
    Last edited: May 6, 2009

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