why am I finding so many feathers in the coop?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by fun with chickens, May 24, 2010.

  1. fun with chickens

    fun with chickens Hatching

    May 8, 2010
    This is my first time raising chickens and I need some input. I have 14 chicks('tweeners) that are now 12 weeks old. We got them when they were just a couple days old so they have all grown up together. They have been in their new 8'x10' coop for about 4 weeks now. They have 78sq ft of available floor space bedded with pine shavings over ABM plus two 52" perchs in the coop with a run of 100sq feet currently (the run is currently undergoing expansion. For the last 3 weeks I have been noticing more and more feathers on the ground of the coop when I go (daily) to let them in/out or spend time with them. I downsized from 3 perchs because all 14 sit on the top perch to see out the window and I wanted to give them more floor space-this is temporary because the nestboxes aren't in and I already want to make some changes. I inspected most of the birds (3 each of orpintons, barred rocks, rir's, new hampshire reds, and 2 sussex) and have not found any blood or bare spots. The feathers I find belong to all but the sussex (lower ranking). I changed them to grower feed at the appropriate time, give them corn/wheat scratch, chick grit regularly (they don't like the medium size grit yet. I give them treats like strawberries and other approved things several times a week. Plus they are let out to free range when I am not working and the weather is good. I live in the Pacific NW (S. WA) and it's still raining, we've not had many days of sunny weather. I have read about 10 different books on rearing them prior to getting the chicks and continue to read and find nothing other than molting or feather picking and none mention anything about feather loss for anything other. Is this considered normal? It's causing me to pull my hair out worrying I'm missing something. Any input from you seasoned chicken rearers [​IMG] (no insult intended) would be most appreciated. (thought I'd give you as much info as I could to give you the full picture) [​IMG]

  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    First off, Welcome to BYC.

    You've done your homework well. Either they are in an early molt or there is a feather picker in the group. The only way you'll know is to spend a lot of time watching them.

    If it is for lack of protein, you can feed them canned fish. I give mine salmon or tuna once or twice a week.
  3. Rowdy5150

    Rowdy5150 In the Brooder

    May 3, 2010
    Oregon coast
    I have the same issue, lots of feathers everywhere in the coop, 7 birds total and same age as yours, 12 weeks. I figured they were still losing their baby feathers, but some of these are big feathers too.
  4. skeeter03

    skeeter03 Songster

    Jun 23, 2009
    Mine did the same thing at about 12 weeks - jeez you would think there had been a chicken masacre out there with all the feathers flying around. But they are all fine
    check for bugs on them if they are eating and healthy looking and no bugs I would just say its a molt.

  5. Choco Maran

    Choco Maran Songster

    Jul 25, 2009
    Ribera New Mexico
    [​IMG] Fun with Chickens As the old saying goes "Washingtonian don't tan the rust." I know how you feel I lived in Northwestern Wa. Seattle for about 35 yrs. Summer was the best day of the year. [​IMG]

    Any way back to the question. They are just molting. Looseing there bady feathers. The first time I saw this last year I thought the had a practice match for "Smack Down FridayNight" no need to worry.
  6. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Songster

    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    Totally normal, my new chicks (relatively the same age as yours) are going through the same thing right now as they transition to their full adult plumage. Just keep an eye out for mites, lice or bare spots and you'll be fine!
  7. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member 9 Years

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Quote:I agree.

    It slows down, my Ameraucana's, which are 18 weeks old are still dropping feathers, but not as much as they were from the 12-15 week age.

  8. Layira

    Layira Songster

    Mar 9, 2010
    Quote:I agree.

    It slows down, my Ameraucana's, which are 18 weeks old are still dropping feathers, but not as much as they were from the 12-15 week age.

    Well this is good news...I thought my girls were going bald! lol Actually, I was worried at first that the feather loss might be from pecking, but since I didn't see any bare spots or scabs, I figured they must be growing in the next set of feathers; especially since I watch them very closely and I highly doubt one of them is a picker.

    My girls are only 8 weeks..Is it normal for them to be losing feathers so early?

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