Sudden feather loss?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Kneedles, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. Kneedles

    Kneedles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2014
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    Last week I spent most of the week on a trip that was mandatory for one of my university courses, and I returned on Saturday. The following morning, I was surprised to see that one of my chickens was missing a large amount of its feathers. No part of its body was completely naked, but the lack of many feathers was still noticeable. My family was taking care of my chickens while I was away, and they have no idea how it happened. The problem can't be mites, because none of my other chickens are losing feathers. The problem can't be age-related, as the chicken is only about two-and-a-half years old. It is unlikely that a predator attacked it; the neighbours' cat hangs around my property on a daily basis, but it never bothers my chickens, and cats other than that cat only visit my property on rare occasions now. There is a handful of other predators that could be responsible that exist in my area, but none of them are likely to occur on my property (it's also important to note that there are no snakes, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, or skunks here). Tomorrow will mark one week since I first found this chicken in its current condition. I think that it has already grown some feathers back, which is good. I haven't noticed any changes in its behaviour.
     
  2. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could it just be a hard molt? One of my girls did not molt her first year and then had a hard molt in her second year and lost a lot of body and contour feathers all at once. She looked pretty pathetic but was healthy otherwise.
     
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  3. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Can you post some photos?

    Where is the feather loss on the body?
     
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  4. Kneedles

    Kneedles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The feather loss is less noticeable now, but was most noticeable on the neck and on the back end.
    It's raining outside, so the photos aren't good.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I find molts often cause the most feather loss in the tail, wing, and neck area.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a hen in a molt, maybe it is similar to your hen when the feather loss was bad?
     
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  6. Kneedles

    Kneedles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2014
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Yes, that does remind me of how it looked.
    The lack of feathers on its neck is a lot more noticeable when its neck is outstretched, but I wasn't able to photograph that.
    I understand that what happened to my chicken is apparently normal, but I've never noticed my chickens moulting before.
     
  7. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, moulting is completely normal. Some hens just lose a few feathers at a time and it is a gradual change your hardly notice aside from a few more feathers collecting in the coop. Other times they go through a hard moult losing a lot of feathers all at once before growing them all back (I am not sure what determines a hard versus gentle moult). It usually happens once a year, but that is also variable. When their feathers start looking a bit ragged and dull they will probably moult and grow a glossy new coat.

    You hen is going to look lovely and glossy now that she has a new set of feathers!
     
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