Should I be concerned - Hen's feathers are thinning, Tail feather not growing back etc...

Vanschelt

Chirping
Feb 6, 2018
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62
I have a 3 year old hen whose feathers are thinning out. It's like she has a receding hairline, tail feathers aren't growing back since winter and feathers on her bottom have become very thin. She also has developed unusually long toe nails as well. Also, she sleeps away from the other 5 hens and her eggs are so tinned shelled that they usually are broken in the nesting box. In the beginning, I thought she might be molting which was at the end ot of winter. Is this something to be concerned about. She was in the top of he pecking order. She seems less dominant at this point. Any thoughts?
 

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TwoChicksChix

Songster
May 29, 2019
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West Palm Beach Florida
There are many possibilities, can you check her for mites? See if there are any around her vent area and around the joints on her wings.

When was the last time you worked her? She could have a nutrient and food deficiency because of worms.

Do you have a roo that’s over mating her?
 

Vanschelt

Chirping
Feb 6, 2018
29
13
62
There are many possibilities, can you check her for mites? See if there are any around her vent area and around the joints on her wings.

When was the last time you worked her? She could have a nutrient and food deficiency because of worms.

Do you have a roo that’s over mating her?
No rooster. When you say worked her, what do you mean?
 

DobieLover

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No rooster. When you say worked her, what do you mean?

I think @TwoChicksChix meant 'wormed'.

What exactly are you feeding your flock? Her feather quality is poor.

I would offer a complete feed with 18 - 20% protein, like chick starter, All Flock or Flock Raiser (my personal favorite). If she is starting her molt for this year, she needs that extra protein but having that extra protein year round is very beneficial. Just offer a container of oyster shell on the side for egg production when it is needed.

As for the overgrown nails, you need to trim them. I would use a pair of plier style dog nail clippers and carefully start trimming them back. Have some styptic powder, cornstarch or flour handy in case you cut the quick. The easiest time to do this is after they flock has gone to roost as they are very easy to catch and handle. Then you can wrap her in a towel and bring her into a well lighted area to work on her. I'd give her a good physical exam at that time looking for mites/lice as well.
 

Vanschelt

Chirping
Feb 6, 2018
29
13
62
I think @TwoChicksChix meant 'wormed'.

What exactly are you feeding your flock? Her feather quality is poor.

I would offer a complete feed with 18 - 20% protein, like chick starter, All Flock or Flock Raiser (my personal favorite). If she is starting her molt for this year, she needs that extra protein but having that extra protein year round is very beneficial. Just offer a container of oyster shell on the side for egg production when it is needed.

As for the overgrown nails, you need to trim them. I would use a pair of plier style dog nail clippers and carefully start trimming them back. Have some styptic powder, cornstarch or flour handy in case you cut the quick. The easiest time to do this is after they flock has gone to roost as they are very easy to catch and handle. Then you can wrap her in a towel and bring her into a well lighted area to work on her. I'd give her a good physical exam at that time looking for mites/lice as well.
Thank you! They free range but currently (summer) I feed the 12% Laying Mash. They also get some mill worms daily (how I control them or call them). Occasional kitchen scraps like watermelon etc. None of the other 5 look like her which is why I am asking. I will get a higher protein chick starter. How long will molting carry on. She's been going down this path since around February. Thanks for the advice, I will follow through. She is one of my most talkative chickens who likes to take charge. : )
 

DobieLover

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Thank you! They free range but currently (summer) I feed the 12% Laying Mash. They also get some mill worms daily (how I control them or call them). Occasional kitchen scraps like watermelon etc. None of the other 5 look like her which is why I am asking. I will get a higher protein chick starter. How long will molting carry on. She's been going down this path since around February. Thanks for the advice, I will follow through. She is one of my most talkative chickens who likes to take charge. : )
Molting has already started with my flock.
Your girl looks like she did not grow good feathers after last years molt and they are now extremely worn out.
12% protein is terribly low. I would switch them over to Flock Raiser ASAP. And don't forget to put out the container of oyster shell as the Flock Raiser (or equivalent) does not offer enough calcium for active layers. During molt, it isn't needed.
I'd also invest in a pair of dog clippers and tend to those overgrown nails. Her toes are twisting due to the length. That cannot be comfortable to walk that way.
 

Vanschelt

Chirping
Feb 6, 2018
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13
62
Molting has already started with my flock.
Your girl looks like she did not grow good feathers after last years molt and they are now extremely worn out.
12% protein is terribly low. I would switch them over to Flock Raiser ASAP. And don't forget to put out the container of oyster shell as the Flock Raiser (or equivalent) does not offer enough calcium for active layers. During molt, it isn't needed.
I'd also invest in a pair of dog clippers and tend to those overgrown nails. Her toes are twisting due to the length. That cannot be comfortable to walk that way.
Thank you again! I wlll proceed as you have suggested.
 

slordaz

hatchaholic
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Apr 15, 2015
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I have never feed a laying hen anything under 16% but with thin egg shell most likely she isn't getting enough calcium either, so it's most likely she isn't getting enough nutrition, both calcium and protein, protein is needed for feather growth, but could also have a bad infestation of worms, Mine have never had worm issue but I give em a bit of minced garlic at least once a month.
As bad as she looks I would recommend feather fixer which is highest protein content I have seen available around here
 

Eggcessive

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I would agree that protein should be at least 16% in her layer feed, but if you get some Flock Raiser or all flock for the next bag, it will give her 20% protein for awhile. Many people use FR all the time, and just offer crushed oyster shell or egg shells for the extra calcium.

I do think as well, that she may be getting her feathers pecked out by another chicken. They can do that out of boredom, too little protein, overcrowding, not getting outside to roam during the day, too much light, and other reasons. Try some pine tar or Nustock around her neck, since those taste bad to chickens and have healing properties. Those both are found in feed stores in the horse aisle.

For the thin shelled eggs, those may be due to a calcium deficiency, or she may have a problem with her shell gland in her oviduct. If all other hens have strong shells, that may be the case. You could try giving her 1/2 of a human cacium tablet for 5 days to see if it helps her shells. That can be given orally or crushed into some food or egg.
 

DobieLover

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I have never feed a laying hen anything under 16% but with thin egg shell most likely she isn't getting enough calcium either, so it's most likely she isn't getting enough nutrition, both calcium and protein, protein is needed for feather growth, but could also have a bad infestation of worms, Mine have never had worm issue but I give em a bit of minced garlic at least once a month.
As bad as she looks I would recommend feather fixer which is highest protein content I have seen available around here
Feather Fixer offers 18% protein.
Flock Raiser offers 20% protein.
I recommend Flock Raiser permanently with oyster shell on the side at all times.
 

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