My hen has lost feathers

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Suskm, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. Suskm

    Suskm Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 9, 2012
    Fort Valley GA
    I have a hen that lost feathers under her wings because of mites or something I can't see. It's going to be in the high 20's to low 30's at night for a few days. Can I put a saddle on her to keep her warm? Does anyone really think it will help. While she seems to be okay in this cooler weather, today while she was dusting, it appeared that she was shivering. Would appreciate some input.
     
  2. PeepsInc

    PeepsInc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It may be possible that the mice are chewing off her feathers at night.(to make there own little houses cozy) Does her tail look damaged too?
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  4. PeepsInc

    PeepsInc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm well aware of moulting. How old are they? ....I just mentioned it because mice chewed feathers can become a common problem in the colder months. You can usually tell it's mice because the base of the feather will remain, when the ends will be scruffy & chewed on.
     
  5. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

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    She should be alright. Just check on her, especially first thing in the morning and when they go to roost in the evenings and make sure she's out and about with everyone else and that she's roosting, too. They may not be as active as usual in the cold weather, but still moving around, eating, drinking, and keeping up with the general energy of the rest of the flock.

    Our BR and DOM just started molting about 1.5 weeks ago (everyone else was done with that by November, but these two kept laying and hung on!). Our BR is mostly bald throughout her bottom, butt, and back and our DOM's head is bald, as are her sides and much of the bottom of her wings. They look AWFUL and this cold snap has had temps going from the low teens at night to the low- to mid-20s through the day time hours, and the chickens just don't seem to care. They seek shelter from any wind a lot quicker than is usual, but they're all out and about like it's not bone-chillingly cold.

    The hen aprons don't provide much in the way of insulation, so if you do see her being slower/more lethargic/hunkered down in a corner shivering and acting like she's cold, I'd probably recommend taking her into an unheated garage or other fully enclosed area and setting up a pen with plenty of material (wood shavings or blankets/towels) for her to settle down into and maybe adding a small space heater or heat lamp (just enough to keep it from getting below freezing, but NOT making it so warm that she gets used to it and ends up in shock/struggling when its time to go back outside).
     
  6. Suskm

    Suskm Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 9, 2012
    Fort Valley GA
    I don't think that's the case with her. Her coop mates don't have the same problem at all. She is just "buck naked" just down from her left wing down to her rump!
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  7. Suskm

    Suskm Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 9, 2012
    Fort Valley GA
    She's just as active as the other hens. She is only seven months old so I don't think she's molting. The temps down here in Middle Ga just dipped below freezing this week so I was concerned. She hunkers up with the other girls to keep warm when they go to bed. She's actually doing okay. I will continue to keep an eye on her till her feathers come back in. I was going to fashion a saddle for her that was made out of something that would be warming like flannel.

    After some discussion with some folks on this forum, I decided that she had picked up mites that I just couldn't see. She must have just preened all those down feathers away trying to get rid of them. I dusted all my hens with diatomaceous earth, added some to each of the laying boxes and the run area. They all seem to have benefited from the dusting. I've read that the DE is also good for digestion.

    Thanks for your input. I do appreciate it very much!
     

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