New to chickens: Moulting?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ReillyJ, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. ReillyJ

    ReillyJ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 12, 2014
    Snohomish, WA
    I don't know how old my hens are but about 3-4 weeks ago i noticed they were losing just a FEW feathers here and there, haven't really taken a good look at them to see if there's bald spots but it looks like they were very lightly blowing feathers, do they do that without moulting?

    They have also dropped in egg production but if they are really moulting don't they stop producing altogether?

    Also since i just acquired them as grown hens a few months ago, i don't know if they've ever been wormed, should i worm them?

    Another thing--they free range about 5 hrs a day at least and take frequent dust baths, i don't do DE and am hesitant because of upper respiratory issues (i inhaled a bit a long time ago and my lungs really haven't been the same since), any thoughts on that?

    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  2. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

    Apr 23, 2014
    At our lodge
    My Coop
    Your birds are probably molting. Make sure to give them foods with lots of protein since feathers take up 85% of their protein. Peas, quinoa, mealworms, meat scrapes, etc are all good.

    The only other thing that could be causing feather loss and egg production decrease is mites or lice. Make sure your chickens can dust bathe.

    Sorry, I'm no help with the DE situation.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Most hens stop laying when molting, some don't.....depends on how hard they molt.

    Feather loss can also be due to parasite infestation. Examine your birds well after dark by taking them off the roost and parting the feathers down to the skin around vent, under wings and around head/neck to see if they have lice or mites. I use a headlight to do this as it leaves my hands free.

    Dust bathing in plain old dirt should be plenty to keep parasites away, unless your coop is infested with the mites that live off the birds body but come to feed at night. Adding some wood ash can be good. I agree that DE is too dangerous of a respiratory risk to put in a dust bath, plus it doesn't do diddly when wet, I use it in the cracks and crevices of my wooden nest boxes and other places in the coop

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