need help- could it be moulting or something else?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by proverbs31chick, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. proverbs31chick

    proverbs31chick New Egg

    Nov 12, 2012
    Southern California
    When I went outside this morning to let the ladies out I noticed that one of my hens (11 months old) is missing feathers in lots of patches around her body, (but they have started growing back and are encased in the waxy tubes still). She also appears a bit thinner than normal and her comb was pale.

    I'm not sure why I didn't notice the missing feathers earlier (it had to have happened several days ago or a week since they are already growing back).

    I am trying to figure out... is she sick or is it a moult? It seems early for her to be moulting (doesn't that usually happen around 18 months?)

    I inspected her for lice and mites, and didn't see any (plus the other 5 chickens don't seems to have any symptoms and I think they would have bugs too). I didn't notice any other symptoms that would make me think she is sick.

    What do you think? Does it sound like a molt or something else?
  2. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    Some birds have a hard moult. The first time I had a few who blew all their body feathers and were stumbling around walking sideways and uncoordinated, I was quite concerned. I supplemented extra protein by mixing 22% starter with their layer pellets. Give them a good vitamin A,D,E, mineral supplement in their water. Give them tepid water in the morning and they'll drink more. Chickens don't like cold water in the Winter. They are more prone to being chilled without feathers, so keep them out of drafty areas, and hang a brooder lamp over the roost area. When I treated a couple of hard moulters this way, they bounced back in about 3 weeks. If you can, get a hold of G.F. Heuser's book, Feeding Poultry. Mike Strecker's Back Yard Flock has some very helpful info too.

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