moulting? Feather-pulling?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ellent, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. ellent

    ellent Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 2, 2010
    Columbia, MO
    I have 4 hens, now in their first winter. Today I noticed that my BO's feather look very thin on the back of her neck. I looked her over more closely, and all around her neck, the feathers appear broken off, also some on her head. Under her wings, her feathers look very thin--there's a fair amount of bare skin exposed, but none of the broken shafts. I have never seen any of the other birds pecking at her. In fact, I have never been able to figure out what the pecking order is. They don't seem to bother each other much.

    Could she possibly be moulting at this time of year? If so, will she survive the cold weather? If not, and this is a sign the others are pulling her feathers, what should I do? Should I isolate her? I'm afraid she is going to get terribly cold. It was about 13 degrees F last night.

    Oh, and if I'm posting in the wrong place, please let me know.
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    She'll be fine in the cold, she'll snuggle up to the other chickens.

    Are you sure it's "broken" shafts? When they molt, the feathers fall out (and it looks like a pillow exploded in your yard) and you will see the pins growing new feathers. It's fine to leave molting hens in with the others. They'll be grumpy and won't want to be handled though.

    Here's my buttercup when she started molting. See the pins on the front of her neck? The feathers come out of those pins.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2010
  3. ellent

    ellent Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 2, 2010
    Columbia, MO
    Thanks for the reply and the hilarious picture. Yes, I think she must be molting. I can't help worrying about the cold, though, with only 3 other girls to keep her warm!
     
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    She is rather pathetic looking, isn't she? [​IMG] As long as there are no drafts, she'll be fine in the cold.
     

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