PLEASE HELP!!! is my chicken molting or is something wrong?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by eatyagreens, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. eatyagreens

    eatyagreens New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Dec 24, 2010
    I was checking on my chickens this morning (14 road island red hens) and one of them has VERY bad feather loss! I can see her skin on her legs, back, and tummy. She isnt completely bald but signs point that she will be! I can see feather buds starting to grow back. I feed my chickens well, they get lots of water. I dont think that it is bugs, or the "pecking order". all my chickens grew up together and are finished picking on eachother. I havent noticed any "unusual" activity with this one. She lays 1 egg a day (just like all of them). None of the other chickens have these problems at all... as a matter of fact, the other chickens are as healthy as ever! I CANT TAKE HER TO A VET!!!!! I just dont have the money. I want to know things i can do NOW. Please help. It is starting to snow outside and is getting very cold. Im very concerned. Im new to "molting" none of my chickens have yet. Go to these links to see some pictures:

    http://i653.photobucket.com/albums/uu259/Mandy313/131_3130.jpg
    http://i653.photobucket.com/albums/uu259/Mandy313/131_3121.jpg
    http://i653.photobucket.com/albums/uu259/Mandy313/131_3119.jpg
     
  2. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    16,242
    105
    336
    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Looks like she's molting to me. [​IMG] Notice the new pin feathers - those are new baby feathers coming in. It is perfectly normal for one to molt at this time of year, too, and she'll be fine. . .

    She might display odd behaviors, but the hormonal changes are also a normal part of it.
     
  3. eatyagreens

    eatyagreens New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Dec 24, 2010
    Thanks a bunch, I hope your right! She seems kinda distant from the others... will it be too cold for her? Temperatures are in the mid 40's to low 30's and its starting to snow.
    She sleeps with the other 14 hens, they should warm her up right?
     
  4. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    16,242
    105
    336
    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Yep. It will all be fine. When our temps sunk to 20 degress (really unsual for us) we had several hens molting at the time, and they all survived well through it. [​IMG]
     
  5. Lofty Dreams

    Lofty Dreams Chillin' With My Peeps

    728
    5
    131
    Apr 9, 2010
    Minnesota
    try giving them cat food for protein, feathers are made out of protien
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2010
  6. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    16,242
    105
    336
    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Cat Food has WAY too much protein, the most I'd recommend is flock raiser feed. But in reality, and even in nature, when a bird molts, it is during fall-winter, where naturally there isn't much protein around. In fact, the molt is triggered by the bird's diet suddenly changing (less protein) usually from less greens and bugs around to eat.
     
  7. TomG

    TomG Chillin' With My Peeps

    208
    1
    101
    Jun 26, 2010
    Lake Oswego
    Quote:What happens when there is too much protein? Is the bird harmed? What is the proper diet or course of action when some members of a flock are in molt? I've been feeding some cat food but I am fairly clueless on the subject.
     
  8. Sportsterjeep

    Sportsterjeep Creekside Acres Farm

    Jun 1, 2010
    Mill Hall PA
    The protein content of dry cat food ranges from 8 to 35% depending on brand. In addition, cat food is animal protein based. Throwing a handful of dry catfood in the feed to poultry coming out of molt has been done for numerous years. It will not hurt them nor is it to much protein to throw a handfull a day out in the run or into their feed. Raising the protein content to 30% during and after molt is specifically advised in some breeds, as well as when they are young and first growing feathers.
     
  9. Louise's Country Closet

    Louise's Country Closet Chillin' With My Peeps

    867
    4
    148
    Feb 5, 2010
    Garrison, MN
    One of my RIR girls started doing that when it got cold here. I gave it a couple weeks and she's growing her feathers back nicely again.. and it looked EXACTLY like that! As for the cold I'm sure she'll be fine. We're in Minnesota and the temps were dropping well into the teens when that happened and the heat lamp doesn't do a ton to make it extra warm in there, she never froze!
     
  10. Sportsterjeep

    Sportsterjeep Creekside Acres Farm

    Jun 1, 2010
    Mill Hall PA
    Quote:What happens when there is too much protein? Is the bird harmed? What is the proper diet or course of action when some members of a flock are in molt? I've been feeding some cat food but I am fairly clueless on the subject.

    Hemorrhagic fatty liver syndrome is one possibillity. This is something that can happen if the birds(hens only) are fed this high protein diet all the time and not just during the critical feather growing/regrowing periods. This disease affects hens and produces fat deposits in the liver. It can kill her if she has enough fat deposits and then strains to lay an egg. In essence, her liver will burst and she will bleed to death internally. It is most often seen in caged birds that get very little exercise. As long as this diet is used during special periods and the birds have the ability to get out in a run or free range, it will not hurt them. Show birds that are constantly being caged and shown, while being fed a high level diet like this will suffer from it. To do it to your backyard flock during and after the molt, will not hurt them.

    ETA: Molt is triggered by hormones in the bird. These hormones are regulated by the amount of daylight, natural or artificial, that a bird recieves each day.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2010

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by