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Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RedDrgn, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

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    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    Our flock is just over a year old now (except the roo, who is just under), but this is their first round of adult molting. Our roo started molting about 3 weeks ago. No big deal, he's been steadily dropping feathers ever since, but in nothing epic and he hasn't even gotten ratty looking. However, we knew it was a harbinger of things to come with our girls...we just didn't know the scale.

    Our EE started noticeably dropping a few feathers last week. But in the past 3 days, she's dumped almost 40% of her plumage! She looks like she's been beaten with a tennis racket and when they were free ranging in the yard last night you could tell everywhere she went by the clumps of feathers all over the place. She's started walking curiously upright, like a roo, but we think that's because her back end is almost entirely bare...and yesterday her whole tail fell out. My DH and I just can't believe how fast she's dropping feathers! She keeps going and she's going to be a bald chicken. [​IMG]

    Our BA and DOM are molting lightly (for now)...barely noticeable at all and they and the EE have quit laying. Our wellie and BR don't seem to notice and have been picking up the laying slack while not losing a single feather, yet.

    We feed them all higher protein flock raiser for feed already, so hopefully that'll help with the feather recovery. Plus, they get any scrap meats and get to forage in the yard daily. Everyone is eating and mostly acting normal, but is there anything we may need to watch out for during their fluffy mess-making?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Poor things. They do seem to feel lousy when moulting, especially in a heavy molt. "Lap chickens" may not want to be held. They can even make you wonder if they are embarrassed.

    I'd check closely for lice / mites (if you haven't already) just to be sure they're not dealing with that as well. Otherwise i'd say you're doing fine. I had one who stopped roosting; I suspected the close up rubbing bothered her, so I let her sleep where she chose, in a nest box, for a while -- and made sure there was plenty of hay in there. Maybe I should have put an old rag in there, for the softness. She grew her new feathers and returned to the roost on her own.

    People sometimes describe molts as their yard looking like a chicken exploded. There are some threads on here with molt pictures -- some of them just make you groan and think, oh, poor girl. We had a molting contest at least once -- I still remember a Buttercup from that thread. I guess I've been lucky with molts, have only seen a couple of what I'd call heavy -- they do vary a lot.
     
  3. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    1,302
    28
    171
    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    Oh yes, I just checked them all for lice and mites last week and they were clear. They're due for another round of fecal testing for worms next month. Other than another case of bumblefoot in the wellie (how she keeps finding thorn bushes to walk on when I keep digging them up is beyond me) that's clearing up well, no other health issues that we know of.

    I did see the molt thread and that poor buttercup...I think our EE is trying to compete. Eeek! And just when it's starting to get pretty chill at night here (upper 40s). At least she tends to huddle between our fluffy BR and BA!

    Our cockatiel gets a little weird and very snappy when she molts, but in the 15 years we've had her she's never molted this much all at once. Does each bird always molt the same, and therefore our EE with continue to erupt every year, or will it vary from year to year?
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    That's something I don't know. I've had a few EE's for 2+ and 3+ years, and I can barely tell when they're molting. My worst molter hasn't molted again - yet. Seems like that Buttercup had molted in the past, much less awfully. What's really sad is winter molts....

    I guess we'll just deal with what is.
     

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