Moulting with flockmate abuse?

Bhapimama

Songster
Jul 30, 2017
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Blue Lake, CA
I’m new to chicken-keeping. My girls are about 20 months old. I have four. They’ve all been moulting for the past 4-6wks - kind of in succession (the first one started about 6 weeks ago and is now fully recovered) Peep was last one and she started this week. Yesterday she noticeably had a lot of feathers missing and then this morning when she came out of the henhouse, she has probably about 25% or more of her skin exposed! And she was walking kind of sideways and crouching close to the ground. But she did go and eat with the other girls like normal. And when she runs when she’s scared (like when we were trying to catch her), she has a normal gate. I saw Laya (the one at the top of the pecking order) pecking her. This all went down this morning when I was getting ready to leave for work. So I called in late and my son and I set Peep up in the greenhouse where she could be separated from the other girls. She has food and water. We gave her some yogurt and scrambled eggs and she is eating and drinking and dust bathing.
I’m looking for advice ... am I on the right track? How long will she need to be isolated? She’s dustbathing in the potting soil in the greenhouse... is that ok? Should I provide her with something better?
 

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alexa009

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Cannibalism and feather picking increase as molting takes place. Chickens will try to regain their protein levels since feathers are composed of a protein (keratin), and molting birds are deprived of it. Bullies will also take advantage of their flock mates when they notice a hen that looks torn up. Raising their protein levels in feed if necessary should decrease this aggressive demeanor in your hens. Keeping them separated when eating, roosting poles or perches to escape the aggressor, or something as a distraction such as cabbage to keep them entertained will stimulate activity and cause the victim to re-grow back her feathers.
Hope this is helps.
 

Wishing4Wings

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Oh poor thing. It looks like a normal molt to me... what would be called a hard molt, with patches falling out all at once. I have had hens looking like that once in a while. You can see pin feathers coming in, so the old feathers were ready to drop. I don't see anything that looks like she is being picked on (more than what it acceptably normal). Chickens seem to be very uncomfortable when they molt. They will avoid the other birds, and because their behavior is different, they might get a bit more hen pecking than you normally see. In fact, my top hen went right to the bottom of the pecking order during a hard molt. She's back on top now, and sadly doesn't seem to have gained any sympathy for the others who are finishing their molts. It is the chicken way.
I don't think you need to isolate her unless she is bleeding or has obvious pecking wounds, or if she is unable to have access to food or water.
There are threads for posting pictures of the worst molt. You might want to show your girl off!
 

Bhapimama

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Jul 30, 2017
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Blue Lake, CA
Oh poor thing. It looks like a normal molt to me... what would be called a hard molt, with patches falling out all at once. I have had hens looking like that once in a while. You can see pin feathers coming in, so the old feathers were ready to drop. I don't see anything that looks like she is being picked on (more than what it acceptably normal). Chickens seem to be very uncomfortable when they molt. They will avoid the other birds, and because their behavior is different, they might get a bit more hen pecking than you normally see. In fact, my top hen went right to the bottom of the pecking order during a hard molt. She's back on top now, and sadly doesn't seem to have gained any sympathy for the others who are finishing their molts. It is the chicken way.
I don't think you need to isolate her unless she is bleeding or has obvious pecking wounds, or if she is unable to have access to food or water.
There are threads for posting pictures of the worst molt. You might want to show your girl off!
Lol ... I had no idea something so terrible would be worth showing off
 

Wishing4Wings

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Lol ... I had no idea something so terrible would be worth showing off
This one was a contest, but it's over now. Save your pic for next time!
https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...st-your-best-worst-chicken-molt-pics.1197023/


Also wanted to add that picking increases with cramped conditions. The more space chickens have, the better off they will be. My mob has the run of a half acre during the day, so the molters have room to get away from an aggressive bird. If your flock is cooped up all day, your hen might appreciate some alone time in the greenhouse. :)
 

Bhapimama

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Jul 30, 2017
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Blue Lake, CA
This one was a contest, but it's over now. Save your pic for next time!
https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...st-your-best-worst-chicken-molt-pics.1197023/


Also wanted to add that picking increases with cramped conditions. The more space chickens have, the better off they will be. My mob has the run of a half acre during the day, so the molters have room to get away from an aggressive bird. If your flock is cooped up all day, your hen might appreciate some alone time in the greenhouse. :)
Mine have plenty of space too. There’s only four and they have a large run plus they free range most of the day.
They do have a pretty small henhouse though. It’s one of those little pre-fabs. But they only sleep in there and lay eggs. I am religious about closing them up at dusk and letting them out at sunrise.
 
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Bhapimama

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Jul 30, 2017
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Blue Lake, CA
Mine have plenty of space too. There’s only four and they have a large run plus they free range most of the day.
They do have a pretty small henhouse though. It’s one of those little pre-fans. But they only sleep in there and lay eggs. I am religious about closing them up at dusk and letting them out at sunrise.
Lol ... I had no idea something so terrible would be worth showing off
What about the strange way she walks? She walks kind of sideways and crouched down. She seems to be able to walk and run normally though too, but she does the weird walk alot
 

Wishing4Wings

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What about the strange way she walks? She walks kind of sideways and crouched down. She seems to be able to walk and run normally though too, but she does the weird walk alot
Not sure about that except it seems the molt makes some chickens very uncomfortable. Did she ever walk this way before molting?
 

Bhapimama

Songster
Jul 30, 2017
153
195
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Blue Lake, CA
So ... in this thread and another that I posted, the consensus seems to be that I shouldn’t be isolating her and I should let her be with the rest of the flock. So after spending the night in the house, I put her out with the other girls this morn when I let everyone out. So far so good, I guess. No harassment but she really didn’t eat much. So I guess just wait and watch :-/
 

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