What happens after incomplete molt?

pluckytree

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 21, 2012
10
0
65
Mountain View, CA
One of our hens was sick early in the molting process and now looks like she looks pretty awful. She is covered in quills but has some exposed skin, especially in the wing area. She looks better than this picture and does have some feathers coming in, but given it’s January, I was curious what to expect. Will she not feather out completely until the next molt or will she continue the process because her body knows it’s incomplete? More of a curiousity than anything as I couldn’t find any information about incomplete molts.

 

cstronks

Songster
Mar 12, 2013
751
98
176
New Jersey
She will feather out eventually. Some birds experience long molts. I've had some birds molt for 2 months (Minorca just sheds feathers and gets them back in phases through the winter). The feather quills will open soon and she'll look much better.

What you should do to ensure this - provide PLENTY of additional protein to molting birds. Some people will alter their feed to increase protein, other will offer snacks that are high in protein. This helps the birds body generate feathers quicker and develop strong plumage. As long as she is eating/drinking well, those feathers should return soon.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Grateful
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
45,528
79,429
1,462
Wisconsin
Yes up her protein intake, she also could be suffering from some sort of hormonal problems. Offer her eggs, cottage cheese, meal worms canned fish, something to help her grow her feathers.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,578
130,272
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
What breed is that?

Maybe it's an optical illusion but it looks very strange to me.
Heavy legs set wide, body looks small compared to legs and head.
Feathers look a bit odd too.

What was she sick with and what, if anything, did you treat with?
How old is she?

Do you have another pic of her before the molt?
 

howfunkyisurchicken

Crowing
9 Years
Apr 11, 2011
9,281
812
361
Tn
^ x2, what breed is she?

Is it possible she might have a mite infestation going on? I'm especially thinking depluming mites, since her feathers look shredded and just "off". Even in the pictures, some of them just look like single little strands (if that even makes sense). Depluming mites typically live in and on the feather shafts, and sometimes aren't as noticeable as most other mites. They would also explain why its taking so long for her feathers to come back.
Just a thought.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,798
34,373
1,122
Colorado Rockies


She looks to be, well, old. Given that she has been ill, and her age, her immune system is probably not up to par, and this partial molt is all that she's going to get until the next fall molt.

Like the others have suggested, additional protein may help. I would also give her Poultry Nutri-drench which will really boost her nutritional intake and may even help with feather re-growth, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

I had a very old hen (age seven, pictured above) who began molt in the fall with the others, but her feathers only grew back partially, and they grew in resembling a frizzle, which she wasn't. The winters here can be brutal, so I rigged a heat lamp in the run for her to warm up under. At night she was able to sandwich herself between two other hens so she stayed warm when she slept.

She developed a series of infections and finally went downhill to the extent I knew she would never recover. I decided to euthanize her. She never made it to her next molt so I will never know if her feathers would have grown back. I have my doubts.
 
Last edited:

pluckytree

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 21, 2012
10
0
65
Mountain View, CA
I’ve been paying close attention to her feathers and she’s been getting a large number of pin feathers and some tail and wing feathers have started to emerge. What’s puzzling is that the feathers aren’t complete. It’s like they are formed improperly or are getting eaten by something. At least she’s got some feathers now, but being around birds for 30-ish years, I’ve never seen feather growth like that. Existing feathers will sometimes look like that, especially pre-molt, but new feathers typically look normal.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,578
130,272
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I’ve been paying close attention to her feathers and she’s been getting a large number of pin feathers and some tail and wing feathers have started to emerge. What’s puzzling is that the feathers aren’t complete. It’s like they are formed improperly or are getting eaten by something. At least she’s got some feathers now, but being around birds for 30-ish years, I’ve never seen feather growth like that. Existing feathers will sometimes look like that, especially pre-molt, but new feathers typically look normal.
Post and updated pic?
What breed?
 

pluckytree

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 21, 2012
10
0
65
Mountain View, CA
She’s a Basque. Her and her sister for comparison. :) She’s looked roughly like this since an incomplete molt in late 2014, but this is the first time she’s been covered in quills and looking like she was getting better. My main concern is that the new feathers basically look half gone even when they are fully deployed.


 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom