My hen is molting and has lost almost all her feathers at once!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by FlyingByTheSeatOfMyPants, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. FlyingByTheSeatOfMyPants

    FlyingByTheSeatOfMyPants In the Brooder

    May 14, 2009
    The Jersey Shore
    My 1 1/2 year-old-hen is in the midst of a horribly dramatic molt. She's lost almost all her feathers at the same time and she is freezing! The temperature here at night has dropped into the thirties. I've just brought her into the house because she looked so pathetic. How can I help her molt to go faster!

    Usually, my hens' molts are more gradual and follow the normal order of feather loss. This one has dropped everything EXCEPT for the head and face feathers and a few butt feathers, and she has one or two flight feathers left, too. She looks like a pin cushion! EEEEKK! Any suggestion for her care? She's obviously miserable.[​IMG]
  2. lauralou

    lauralou Songster

    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia
    I have a hen like that, too. She's perfectly pitiful. I feel sorry for her, so have been allowing her to sleep in a nestbox. I NEVER allow that!

    I gave her a giant tomato worm that I found yesterday, and that made me realize that extra protein would probably be good for her. So, I plan on giving her as much meat as I can in the near future. I just won't salt anything while I'm cooking it, then I'll save out some scraps for her.

    I hope your girl grows her feathers back in ASAP! [​IMG]
  3. Germaine_11.20

    Germaine_11.20 Songster

    Jun 6, 2009
    I have read that giving them some cat food helps with getting some extra protein and get the feathers back in faster [​IMG]
  4. I'd offer her a huddle box or maybe she uses the nest boxes to keep warm?

    Also, blocks of wild bird suet are excellent for getting body temp up and regrowing feathers. My birds are coming out of a month-long slow moult and during the time they accepted the suet gladly. They're not gobbling it now that their feathecoats are well in. Lovely petticoats and pantaloons.

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009
  5. lemurchaser

    lemurchaser Songster

    Apr 11, 2008
    Corvallis, OR
    I have one doing that this year too. She's certainly not naked, but I think she has 5 feathers on her neck, and just some fluff on her body. She looks so terrible, and I'm worried that she'll be cold.
  6. FlyingByTheSeatOfMyPants

    FlyingByTheSeatOfMyPants In the Brooder

    May 14, 2009
    The Jersey Shore
    Thanks! I'll try the suet. Someone also told me boiled egg chopped up is a good protein source for new feathers. Any reason this might not be good for them? I'm a little leery about the cat food, because I've tried to keep meat products out of the hens diet. Also, I still have a few hens laying (EEs), so at least I know their eggs are safe.

    I actually have the hen in a cat carrier inside because she was shivering so much! I hope this doesn't take a month, though![​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  7. Freckle Face Farm

    Freckle Face Farm Songster

    Jan 1, 2009
    Quote:I feed mine hard boiled eggs with the shell on a mix them with my mixer shell and all....They love it... [​IMG]
  8. Uppity Peon

    Uppity Peon Songster

    Some production breeds are bred for fast molting. Other breeds lose and regrow feathers more gradually. Naturally the fast molt gets them back in egg production soner, but it sure must be hard on them.
  9. How is your hen?[​IMG]
  10. rubysmom

    rubysmom Songster

    Mar 28, 2008
    my chicken is doing the exact same thing. Sooooo sad looking. I am afraid she is getting too cold also her skin is very pink looking in some spots? How do you know idf they are warm enough? The temps are in the low 30s here too.

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