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One miserable balding chicken

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by just3girls, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. just3girls

    just3girls In the Brooder

    Jan 13, 2011
    Hi! Okay, I posted on this a few days ago but a few new things have come to light. I have one of my hens that has been losing feathers. I think it started slowly initially, then about four days ago she started losing them very quickly. At first I thought she was molting. Then I thought maybe it was mites. Then I thought it was molting, then mites. I treated her for mites today because I figured it couldn't hurt. In treating her, I realized a couple of things. First, she seems miserable. Normally she doesn't mind being handled and now she tries to avoid us, and when we hold her it's like she's shrieking. [​IMG] Secondly, the feathers aren't just dropping out all the way - many of them, at least, look like they're broken.

    Having poked around here already looking for clues, I'll add a few other hints. - We do not have a rooster. - I do not believe that she is being bullied by either of our other chickens. - She does not seem to be laying but that is not unusual for her, she's never been a great layer. - I did not see any mites or lice on her but must say the whole procedure was a little awkward. - She's about 1 1/2 years old. - The only stress I can think of is that she was attacked by a cat about a month ago, though I didn't see any injuries. - She seems okay, doesn't seem sick, lethargic or anything, maybe a little less bright than usual.

    So I guess the question is: Can it be molting if she seems to be in pain and if the feathers appear broken off rather than fallen out? It seems like molting wouldn't really hurt and it seems like feathers wouldn't break.

    But I'm not really sure of either of these things. Thanks!!

  2. ladyride

    ladyride Songster

    Apr 30, 2011
    East Tn
    I can't offer any advice sorry you are going through this [​IMG]
  3. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Hard to say exactly what's going on but bolstering her nutrition can only help.

    What is her diet? Adding something like Avia Charge 2000 to their water would be good.

    What did you treat the possible mites with?

  4. BarnGoddess01

    BarnGoddess01 I [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]

    Are you sure what you are thinking are broken off feathers aren't the new ones coming in? I have read that those new feathers coming in can be uncomfortable for them. (I've got several girls doing some VERY heavy moulting right now. They definitely don't appreciate being touched right now.)
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2011
  5. just3girls

    just3girls In the Brooder

    Jan 13, 2011
    Thanks for the suggestions! I suppose it's possible that the feathers aren't broken after all but the new ones coming in. I'll have to take a closer look - maybe I'll wait a day or two since today's mite treatment might have been a little traumatic. Thanks for that - and thanks for the supplement suggestion, too. She's just eating regular old layer pellets.
  6. boogiedog

    boogiedog Songster

    Apr 19, 2010
    Oakland hills, CA
    I have some hens that have balding on their backs - I have no roosters- and yes, it is 3 dominant hens that mount them. I bought aprons for the 3 who get mounted the most, and their feathers are returning under the aprons. Keep an eye on that (if it is her back that keeps going bald), as an apron may help.

    And Barngoddess has a good point - feathers growing look weird and are not particularly comfy for the birds.

    Good luck!

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