What is wrong with my hen??


In the Brooder
5 Years
Nov 14, 2014
Previously 2 of our hens had bare backs from our rooster. We purchased some chicken coats and their feathers grew back nice and thick. They look great! Today as I was cleaning the coop I noticed a huge pile of feather in the corner of the coop under where they sleep. I inspected the hens close and noticed one of my black sex links was missing feathers under her tail. Any idea what this is? She had never looked ratty like this before and they are about a 1 1/2 years old. So they haven't molted yet. Could that be it? It worries me because it's getting cold and snowed a bit yesterday. Please help!




I Love Autumn
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Jul 16, 2015
It's probably a molt, the more productive the hen the harder the molt, the good thing is they grow back faster, keep your protein levels up to help her regrow them faster.
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Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
Molting feather loss looks different from feather picking loss. With molting, upon close inspection, you'll see evenly spaced pin feathers emerging in discrete areas of the body, since molt usually proceeds in a systematic manner.

Feather loss due to feather picking or cannibalism is almost the direct opposite. You'll see nude areas with no pin feathers. Or you'll see nude areas of skin with bloody or broken pin feathers and shafts and ragged, broken feathers.

From your description and the age of your chickens, it is probably molt. And yes, some chickens seem to pick the inopportune time of the coldest part of the winter in which to molt. The good news is that the cold weather will stimulate new feather growth and your hen should have a new suit of feathers in close to no time at all.

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