PLEASE HELP me figure out what happened to my chicken :(

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Fawn and Fam, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. Fawn and Fam

    Fawn and Fam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2013
    ~~We've just arrived home from a 9 day vacation. It is the 1st time we've left our two pet pullets. The one that has muffs and a beard no longer has them! Her bare white skin is exposed on her cheeks and neck. I'm pretty sure she's not molting because she isn't missing any other feathers, there are no feathers in the coop/run, and she just went through a light molt in October. My best guess is that her sister plucked them from the stress of us being gone. I do know chickens will pluck other's feathers when they aren't getting enough protein, however that has never happened w/ mine. I just don't think that is the case because while we were gone the only thing they were given to eat was their layer pellets, flock block, and a tiny handful of cracked corn each day. They both layed eggs 8 out of the 9 days. Our sitter did say that a few days he gave two tiny handfuls of cracked corn when the temp was in the single digits. It doesn't seem to me that would be enough to make her pluck feathers for protein though.

    The only other two things that were different while we were gone was that I noticed he didn't give them near enough grit. Also he used his well tap water for their outdoor waterer which is different from what they are used to. The water I give them is the proper PH for chickens and I put vitamins in it. However their inside water was their normal water because I filled it all the way before I left so he never had to refill it.

    Do you think one of these things were the cause or could there be another reason how/why this happened that I'm not aware of? If I can figure it out hopefully I can stop it from happening next time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Do they have lights on at night? Sometimes feather picking can be from boredom, or if there are lights on while they are roosting.

    Grit can last inside the gizzard for up to a year or more, one study showed.

    I don't give vitamins in the water...I give well water too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  3. Fawn and Fam

    Fawn and Fam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I have had a light on 24/7 for probably 1 and 1/2 months now. Due to the lack of daylight one had slowed down egg laying and the other quit completely and went through a soft molt. After turning the light on they went right back into full production. Also I chose to have the light on because of the bitter cold here in Michigan and they only have each other to keep warm. I put a flock block in their coop along w/ dried corn on the cob for boredom busters. Also they have tons of space because it is just the two of them. Their door was left open 24/7 while we were gone so that the sitter only had to come once a day (they have a secure run that is also wrapped in plastic) so they weren't cooped up against their will getting on each others nerves.

    Since we had the light on for a whole month before and had no problems, do you think it is still the light that is the problem?.
     
  4. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    I have had this problem with my EE's before and I would have
    to agree with the stress factor being what happened to the
    beard as one day after a long stay away I had in July my hen
    did this to our Rooster and the day after we got back I was
    sitting on the front porch drinking a cup of coffee and watched
    her pluck Mr. Rooster as he just sat there like he was getting
    a hair cut at the barbers shop ............. [​IMG]

    gander007
     
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I would get a $5 timer (I got mine at Home Depot) for the light to give them a dark rest period. For laying you need 14 hours of light I have read.

    Of course if you are doing this for their warmth a timer wouldn't help.
     
  6. Fawn and Fam

    Fawn and Fam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I actually was using a timer until it got so bitter cold that I felt I had no choice but to leave the light on (due to the type of coop they are in & since it is just the two of them). Right now they are in a uninsulated tractor coop w/ WAY too much ventilation for just two chickens.. We wrapped 3 walls of the run w/ clear plastic to keep out the snow and wind, but it wouldn't be any warmer inside the coop w/out the light. However our insulated permanent coop is close to being complete and will have 1 sq. ft. of ventilation per chicken. I believe it will be warm enough to use a timer and have the light off during sleeping hours [​IMG]. Now just to find time to finish the coop ( it was supposed to be finished in the fall [​IMG])!
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I hear you. I just had to move my large fowl out of my metal shed during our recent cold snap down to about 13 degrees, as they were suffering even with a 150 watt bulb...it did not heat it up at all. One of my Welsummers wouldn't come off the roost until mid-day during the horrid cold, and then walked with a limp. I was thinking she got a mild case of frostbite although her toes don't have any visible damage. That day, I decided that enough was enough and moved them all.

    I moved them to my double walled plastic shed coop and all is well. My bantam coop also has a light - and it is made of wood so is very good.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013

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