Possible winter molting?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PaolaH1234, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. PaolaH1234

    PaolaH1234 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 17, 2013
    Rutherfordton, NC
    Hello, hoping for some thoughts here. I have 14 layers a year old and 1 rooster. I watch over them like a hawk. Today I noticed one of my Black Copper Marans missing a whole patch of feathers on her neck! My first thought was molt? But it is mid Feb here and has been really cold. This happened within the last 2 days. I am now noticing a couple of the other hens with what appears to be the start of a molt. I'm attaching a couple of pics. I couldn't get a good one of the BCM where it shows the back of the neck. The odd thing is she still has the "quills" sticking out, just no feather on the end. Is that what a molt looks like? I've not had a hen go through one before. I just want to make sure that this is what is going on. No evidence of mites or bugs or anything like that. They are on a layer feed and have a large fenced in run, and I also let them out into the garden about once a day. Any ideas/suggestions? Thanks in advance. PS. She hasn't been laying for over a week![​IMG]
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  2. PaolaH1234

    PaolaH1234 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 17, 2013
    Rutherfordton, NC
    I was able to get a close up picture.

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  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Those look like new feathers growing in. Sometimes the rooster pulls out feathers on the back of the hens heads or necks during mating. At their age I'd expect they'll molt end of this summer or fall.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yep, looks like new feathers.
    If you gently pick(preen) at the 'quill'.....the outer sheath of quill will come off.
    The new neck feathers take longer to unsheath because they can't reach them with their beaks to preen if off themselves.
     

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