the moult - does it hurt them?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Xtineart, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. Xtineart

    Xtineart Chirping

    May 3, 2014
    My poor boo is acting so depressed, doesnt want to eat, doesnt want to play, doesnt want to egg and just looks sad all the time. This morning she let me cuddle her on my lap and ruffle through her feathers taking out all the loose ones while she closed her eyes and had a wee sleep, I guess it was a nice chicken massage for her. You can see all the new feathers where they are growing through and there was enough loose ones to fill a whole mason jar. I could probably build a whole new chicken from them!. Poor beast seems so unhappy.
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yes, they can be quite lethargic when molting.
    Yes, the new pin feathers are uncomfortable and can bleed if broken, better not to handle them at all during that stage.

    Make sure they are getting a good balanced, high protein feed without they do not lay when molting.
  3. shoregirl68

    shoregirl68 Chirping

    Jul 23, 2013
    My understanding is the molt itself does not hurt but as aart mentioned the growth of the new pin feathers can be uncomfortable. One of my BOs in an unexpected winter molt but is not exhibiting the same behavior as your poor Boo. She is eating, keeps up with the other gals, and other than her waddle being pink instead of red, lots of shaking/fluffing of her feathers I may not have noticed if not for the waddle color and feathers in the coop and all around the run. The symptoms you described, "depressed, doesn't want to eat, doesn't want to play, doesn't want to egg and just looks sad all the time'" may be symptoms of something else.

    The first thing I did was check for mite or lice infestation and based on her behavior being normal chalked it up to a bad timing for a molt...20-30°F at night.

    Read this link for info on the possibility of other issues:

    Hope Boo is back to normal soon!
  4. Xtineart

    Xtineart Chirping

    May 3, 2014
    I've looked though that and she's not got anything pointing to serious illness on that list. she's not laying but not egg bound that I can tell, her abdomen is fine as is her crop, she's not even got a pale wattle but she is very lethargic. I've watched her and she does eat but she just takes her time instead of running for treats like the others, as though she's just too **** tired to fuss over food. She's not got mites or anything like that and she does let me look through her feathers to check on the new growth and her skin condition is good. It just seems such a heavy moult, from all over at once that I can tell her wings, her breeches, and her backside all dropping feathers every time she moves. She sat today and slept on 'mummy's' chair (the one I sit on when I'm cuddling her) and complained dramatically when I put her to 'bed' in the coop. acting like a toddler. I think maybe she's got stressed out as we've had so much upheaval over this month, first the garden got flooded when the sewers burst and I had to hurriedly confine them in the conservatory for a few days until everything was dried and disinfected, then we had terrible storms for a few days, so bad they blew the roof off the coop one night, and another the snow fell so deep it collapsed a section of their covered run. I think the noise and the frights have really got to her and she is scared to even go in the coop now, I have to physically lift her in. Next week she's having to go and live with my parents as I have to go to England for work so that will be even more upheaval for the girls, although I did manage to make sure mum and dad have an identical coop for them to stay in their garden is in then countryside so there will be foxes and badgers coming up to see the new 'pets' but mum and dad are too old to come here to look after the girls.

    I'm so worried for my wee sad girl boo.

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