My Chicken Ate a Rat AND is Losing Feathers. :(

rocxcy20

Hatching
7 Years
Nov 15, 2012
1
0
7
Lord N heaven I swear chickens will be the death of me. So my genius husband decided to put a rat trap near the coop (no poison) thankfully no chickens were caught in the trap but it did catch a rat. I Did not know there was a rat in the trap for 2 days. My chickens were feasting on its remains for two days (and so was the dog..awesome). One is losing all her feathers (3 chickens total). The other two seem just fine. This is my "alpha" female so I don't think she is a victim of pecking and her skin seems to be fine. They all seemed to go through a healthy molting at different times throughout July-end of September. Not to keen to think it is a Molt again. They are fed Lavena Plus and with an added vitamin mixed in their feed also chicken treats dried meals worms and food scraps. They are also free range. We never lock them up.Any words of chicken wisdom would be helpful! Thank you!
 
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CluckyCharms

Songster
7 Years
Sep 28, 2012
1,454
76
198
Missouri, but Montana in my dreams
My Coop
My Coop
I don't think eating the rat is causing feather loss. But...there might be more rats there who are terrorizing your hen and ripping out feathers (yes, rats do that - they use the feathers for their nesting/house areas and they care not where they get them from). Rats will attack chickens and kill baby chicks. But, if it is simply nesting material they are after, they'll just grab a feather and yank & leave the chicken itself alone.

Where there is one rat there is usually a family of them, they don't like to live alone; I'd set up more traps - lots of them.

This alpha female of yours that keeps losing feathers - is she prettier than the other hens? Here's an interesting research study on what rats can actually see in regard to color: http://www.ratbehavior.org/RatVision.htm#NormalRatVision

If nothing else appears to be wrong with her, and she's not molting, I would venture to guess there are little rodents enjoying a lovely feather pillow at night.
 

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