Question about chicken molting.

australorp_breeder

Songster
10 Years
Sep 29, 2009
407
3
121
California
I was wondering if chickens lose all of their tail feathers when they molt? I've never seen it happen before, but one of the chickens that I entered in the fair suddenly lost all of her tail feathers. Her butt is still covered, because she still has all the smaller feathers, just her main larger ones are all gone. It happened all within a day or two, and I know that it wasn't another chicken pecking them because they don't have access to each other through the wire on the cages. However, I ahve noticed that people can just open up the cages without anyone knowing and touch the birds. They aren't suppose to, but it is possible. So I'm trying to figure out if chickens molt that fast, or if someone might've reached in and pulled out her tail feathers? A lot of the other chickens are molting too at the fair, but their tails don't look nearly as bad as my black Australorp's.
 
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Iowa Roo Mom

Resistance Is Futile
11 Years
Apr 30, 2009
3,925
12
281
Keokuk County
I have an EE roo with two tailfeather right now. He's a beautiful roo...

29831_rooster_chicken_2002_edited.jpg


... but not right now!
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I'd say yours probably just moulting, but I'm no expert
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loralei

Songster
10 Years
Jun 4, 2009
287
4
119
New Caney, Texas
Might stress case a bird to loose it's feathers? It certainly sounds like the conditions at the fair could have been stressful... strange people handling an all!

How old are chickens when they begin to molt?
 

gallusdomesticus

Songster
12 Years
Nov 14, 2008
413
63
231
Lynn Haven, FL
There are several factors that effect a molt. A chicken will normally molt for the first time at the 12-15 month point. However, a change of lighting conditions (i.e. less light) will also encourage the molt to begin. Most birds will start molting from the neck area and the feather loss will progress aft but there is no 'standard' molt pattern. Normally, my hens lose all their tail feathers but I've had them keep most of them also.
While they're molting, they tend to be lethargic and stop laying or lay erratically until the quills grow back.
 

chickenlady

Songster
12 Years
Aug 28, 2007
1,214
10
171
Stillwater, NJ
A bird does not have to be bothered by another bird to become stressed. Just taking the birds out of their normal environment will stress most birds. I have seen many beautiful birds drop most of thier feathers within a couple hours of arriving at a show.
 

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