What could attack a hen remove much of its feathers and not kill it?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by I have WHAT in my yard?, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. I have WHAT in my yard?

    I have WHAT in my yard? Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2008
    Eggberg, PA
    I know I have not been on here in a while. Huge family issues have precluded me being here really. [​IMG]

    But, last night a barred rock accidentally got locked out of the coop, but in the run. This morning when I found her she was plucked. Her belly and vent area are bare. She has big patches missing from her wings. She looks like she was picked on by the other hens, but I am sure she hasn't looked this bad before. There is an area under the run fence that is dug out. It is pretty small.

    She seems OK otherwise. She is clear eyed and energetic. I brought her in the house and put her in a cage. She has eaten corn, tomato and apple. (She's probably thinking she died and went to heaven!) [​IMG]

    It is cold here now and I am afraid she won't do well in the cold so bare. How long will I nee to keep her in to re-grow her feathers? What could or would do something like this??

    Sorry to vanish for moths and then come back seeking help, but I hope you will help her anyway. [​IMG]
  2. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    I know I dont get on here as much either.....but I will try to give advice. Let see....dug out under the fence...and plucked, not killed? I am thinking some sort of dog? A small terrier type maybe? Are there any puncture wounds? Like maybe from a claw ie: cat?
    As for putting her back out there...if the litter is deep and warm...and the others dont peck at her, I would think she would be OK. Just keep an eye on her. It will take several weeks, if not months for her to regrow new feathers.
    Im sorry this happened to her...and you. Its frustrateing to try to understand mysteries.
  3. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 17, 2009
    My Coop
    Maybe she got stressed out from being locked out of the coop and plucked her own feathers.
  4. LovinMyHensInNC!

    LovinMyHensInNC! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Could it be that she is molting and all else is a coincidence? My hard molting hens seem to have gone from nice looking to raged in just a couple of days. The spots you mentioned feather loss is where my hens are molting.... rump, chest, wings. If she is molting, the good thing is that her feathers will grow back more quickly (weeks) than if she is not. I seem to think that if a predator got in her run, they would not have left empty handed unless something scared it off like a guard dog.
  5. Shiningfeather

    Shiningfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2009
    hill country texas
    You can also bump up her protein to help her grow back her feathers a little quicker. Things like egg, meat, or grower for chicks has more protein. Good Luck [​IMG]
  6. Mrs.Puff

    Mrs.Puff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2008
    Southern Iowa
    A small rodent could have plucked her while she was sitting there, and used the feathers for a nest. Are her feathers laying all over the place? If so, I vote for her plucking them out herself b/c of stress.
  7. tlcorley

    tlcorley Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 15, 2009
    near Tulsa, Oklahoma
    In our area owls do that to chickens. An old farmer [​IMG] told me that they will pluck it one night and come back the next night to kill and eat it. This is the reason when we made our run we covered it. to keep un-wanted critters out. Im sorry your poor chicken has been plucked. Hope you find out what caused it. [​IMG]
  8. Luvmybob

    Luvmybob Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2009
    wow--I'm sorry to hear about your chicken---only thing I could think of is a fox---our neighbors, who also have chickens, find headless, featherless chickens sometimes in their coop and seen a fox that had dug a small hole under the fence...your chicken was really lucky....

    I've had my chickens for only 7 months but I have yet to see them lose their feathers...so I'm curious---the owl is a thought, I've never heard of that! I'm glad I have a top on top of my runner now!

    Good Luck-
  9. I have WHAT in my yard?

    I have WHAT in my yard? Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2008
    Eggberg, PA
    I hadn't considered molting as possible. She really looks ragged. Would they do a hard molt just as the temps got so cold?
  10. Mrs.Puff

    Mrs.Puff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2008
    Southern Iowa
    They molt precisely when the weather turns cold. Are there feathers all over the run?

    That is absolutely not true about owls. I am a former Dept. of Natural Resources employee, and I can guarantee that is ridiculous. The only reason an owl might "pluck" feathers is because it attacked a chicken and found it couldn't quite grab it, so lots of feathers fell out.

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