start molt by losing ALL their tail feathers?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kayri, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. kayri

    kayri Chillin' With My Peeps

    353
    1
    141
    Jul 6, 2007
    RI
    Do chickens start a molt by losing ALL of their tail feathers in one place? Yesterday I went to let the chickens out of the coop and came across a huge pile of white feathers in one spot which instantly made me think of a dog or hawk attack. Luckily I knew all of the girls were in he coop as I did a head count the night before especially Sarah who is my white rock. When I let them out I looked at Sarah and ALL of her tail feathers were gone. I can't tell if she is molting or a hawk tried to grab her and caught just her tail before she darted under the asparagus? or what happened? I need a chicken cam! Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks. Kay
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,961
    3,126
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    No. If all tail feathers came out in one place and are left there, something did it. Here is an article on molting that says they start at the head and neck so it might help convince you. I'd suspect something four-legged (dog, raccoon, fox) or two-legged (hawk, owl, human).

    Mississippi State describes molting
    http://msucares.com/poultry/management/poultry_feathers.html

    Good luck!
     
  3. kayri

    kayri Chillin' With My Peeps

    353
    1
    141
    Jul 6, 2007
    RI
    hmmmm sorry to hear that. It must have been a hawk, as it was inside the electric fence and if something 4-legged had gotten inside the fence I don't know why it wouldn't have caught one of the chickens and killed it. Time to move the owl around. . . Thanks for your reply!

    Kay
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by