possum in coop has stressed birds, seems to have induced a mass molting?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by babyrabbitjones, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. babyrabbitjones

    babyrabbitjones Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 21, 2011
    Hi friends-
    So here's what I'm dealing with- 2 weeks ago I followed a trail of feathers from the pen to the side yard where I found one hen, killed with it's head gone. (I forgot to close the little door, my bad- have since made a more concerted effort to tighten up security and shut them in tight at night.) The rest of my girls seemed stressed/anxious since then and have all started molting feathers, and I chalked it up to trauma over the kidnapping and murder of the friend, and that I had to go out of town for a few days too......

    Fastforward to last night, when I went down to the coop to shut them in, and there a possum sitting in a nestbox happily breaking eggs and my birds are all huddled up away from him, freaking out. He had climbed over the pen fence and had gotten into the coop before I had come down to close them in. My mother-in-law helped me kill him, so I don't have to worry about the immediate danger of his repeat offense, but my flock is so very unhappy and with the molting, they look horrible.
    And that's where I pose my question to you: can repeated stress like this cause a chicken to molt, or perhaps its possible that the possum was grabbing at them and pulling out their feathers? Secondly, any recommendations for things I can do to reestablish harmony, calmness, and peace? I have never had to deal with a predator upsetting my flock before and want the girls to feel safe and happy again.
    Thanks for reading and in advance for your advice!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Yes, stress can cause a molt. Just up their nutrition a little if you can, particularly animal protein, and don't handle them for a while, because they are already uncomfortable.
     

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