Shabbiness= molting??? Looking to adopt and have some concerns!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SeaChick, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    First of all, hope this is the right topic header!

    We went to look at some young hens (1.5 years old, 2006 chicks) to possibly introduce to our tiny flock now that dear Hazel is going to live with Angie n Maine.

    We visited these same hens in early summer and they all looked really healthy, shiny and sleek, and we know they are well taken care of. But yesterday a couple of them looked kinda shabby. The 3 EEs and the BR looked fine, but the Buff Orpington and the New Hampshire Red both looked a bit scruffy. Not losing any feathers, but just dull and scruffy.

    It is suddenly cold here in Maine. Is it possible this has something to do with molting? Since our girls are only 23 weeks, we haven't yet witnessed adult molting. Are they like snakes who get dull before shedding their skins, or might there be something wrong with them?

    We really like the BO, very calm and sweet. We hope there's nothing wrong with her.

    We also loved one of the EEs... very cute chipmunk cheeks, but the owner said she may be the one breaking and eating eggs, so we're leery of bringing her into our flock. Sigh. I wish it weren't so late and we could fing some nice 20-week pullets around here!!!!!

    Thanks-
    Stacey & Olivia
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2007
  2. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    I am not sure this is in the right topic... if I need move it please let me know.
     
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    They are at the correct age for their first true molt. And they can look very scruffy and dull for awhile with lots of broken feathers as well as missing feathers. Sounds like what it could be. Are they acting sick or just look not quite as shiny as they should?
     
  4. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Thanks Cynthia-

    They seem to be acting fine. We only met them once before and I don't remember their personalities that well, but the BO is totally fine/normal/friendly and the NHR seems a little shy, just stands off by herself. It is more the BO (and perhaps one of the EEs she has) that Olivia is interested in. I was just concerned by the sort of dusty/dull/shabbiness of her feathers. And both she and the other fluffy hens, the NHR and BR (but not the 3 EEs) have some dried poo on their fluffy butts. And I don't know if that's normal for older, fluffier hens, as our girls are all still pretty sleek and svelte. at 23 weeks.

    It's a really hard thing, to be saying goodbye to Hazel (although we're SO happy she's going to a good home with Angie where she can roam free all day!) and adopting new girls to take her place. But it is making it easier on Olivia to be getting new ones now, rather than chicks next spring.

    Olivia really fell in love with one of the 3 EEs, with chipmunk cheeks, but the owner says she thinks that may be the one who broke & ate eggs.... so I don't think we should take her. Of her other 2 EE sisters, one looks pretty much like a normal hen, with a single comb and no face feathering (but pretty feathers) and she looks nice and shiny and healthy. The other is the bottom of the pecking order and has the top of her head picked bald, which I am not sure would ever grow back!

    Thanks for any input you have on this. I'm looking round for other options but it's pretty late in the season here and I didn't find many ads for pullets anyplace. Plus Olivia likes the idea of adopting these girls who do really NEED a home right now.

    Stacey
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2007
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    The poop on their butts-do you mean trailing down their fluff in the back? Chickens at times have different types of droppings, some watery, some slightly softer than others, and if they are a particularly fluffy breed, it can get caught in the butt-fluff area. Happens around here, especially with the Orps, Wyandottes, and for some reason, my Barred Rocks, but not on the Ameraucanas or Rhode Island Reds.
     
  6. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Yes, Cynthia, exactly!! I have noticed it ONCE on my BR but as I said they are so young and still svelte that it hasn't been an issue for us yet. But the BO, BR, and NHR that this woman has had it (but not her 3 EEs)..... so that's good, then, sounds like THAT part is normal. And that perhaps the sort of dull/dusty/shabby appearance is OK too, part of molting? Would that mean that she's likely to take a long break from laying, like all winter maybe?

    Thanks so much for the input! Liv is going to want to decide tomorrow, I think, so this information will be very helpful.

    Stacey
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2007

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