Question about chicken molting.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by australorp_breeder, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. australorp_breeder

    australorp_breeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 29, 2009
    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2009
  2. Iowa Roo Mom

    Iowa Roo Mom Resistance Is Futile

    Apr 30, 2009
    Keokuk County
    I have an EE roo with two tailfeather right now. He's a beautiful roo...

    [​IMG]

    ... but not right now! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] I'd say yours probably just moulting, but I'm no expert [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2009
  3. loralei

    loralei Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    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?
     
  4. gallusdomesticus

    gallusdomesticus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 14, 2008
    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.
     
  5. chickenlady

    chickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    Stress from a show can definitely cause feather loss. Happens all the time, no way to control it.
     
  6. australorp_breeder

    australorp_breeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 29, 2009
    California
    I'm not sure what really caused it. Maybe stress, because the chicken that was next to her at the fair kept pestering her.
     
  7. chickenlady

    chickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2007
    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.
     
  8. australorp_breeder

    australorp_breeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 29, 2009
    California
    Alrighty, thanks guys!
     

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