Young Hen Molting After Hawk Attack


In the Brooder
Oct 19, 2019
Hi all,

I have a flock of 9 birds, all hatched March/April of 2019. One of them, a Barred Rock, was attacked by and saved from a hawk attack. It had her pinned on the ground for about 2-3 minutes, but a human scared the hawk away and she ran free. That was on Nov. 20. Since then, she has lost some feathers, it looked at first like just the feathers that were from the attack were missing (there were a lot on the ground as you can imagine).

However, she is now losing a lot more, as if she's molting, but she's less than 1 year old and nobody else in the flock is losing feathers.

Has anyone had experience with a bird losing feathers after a traumatic experience?

I have them live streaming on YouTube, so feel free to have a look. I also wonder if it's possible if she 'lost' the feathers when she was attacked, but they didn't actually fall out until now. She leaves a trail of feathers pretty much wherever she goes at this point.

I trust the advice of other chicken enthusiasts that hang out in these forums and would love to hear your thoughts!

I should also note that since they are observed 24/7 (probably more than any other chickens on earth) I tend to get wind of every little behavioral change, so I also have noticed that she is hanging out in the nest box a little more often than usual, she is one of the 3 bullies in the yard and that has not changed, she still maintains her place at the top or second to top of the pecking order.

Last thing, if you watch them at night, don't be alarmed that they are closed in, that's an automatic gate that opens at sunrise - it's there to keep predators out as we have lots of nosy possums around here.
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5 Years
Apr 6, 2014
Melrose Park Illinois
I'm not Dr. Phil for chickens, so everything about stressed chickens is possible. I have nothing I can add there.
There is nothing you can do to slow, or reverse the molt. I suggest you feed her some extra protein if you can. No need to run out and get a large bag of Feather Fixer Feed. (higher protein content in such feed)
You can individually add some cat food for just her to munch up. A tablespoon or so each day, until feathers start to look beautiful. No need to overdo dosage, as that is also no good.
WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and :welcome


Free Ranging
10 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
Yeah, probably a molt. Not all pullets or cockerels skip the molt their first fall and winter though some do. Stress can cause a molt, either a mini-molt or the full-fledged thing at any time. Stress could be from a change in the pecking order, going without water for an extended period of time, moving them to a new location, or a predator attack. I had a broody hen molt in late summer when raising her chicks. She was over the molt and back laying before the others even started their molt.


Great Horny Toads
Staff member
Premium member
Jul 16, 2015
central Wisconsin
When a chicken is frightened like during a predator attack they have the ability to release their feathers. It's why sometimes I'm trying to catch a chicken I end up will a fist full of feathers if my grip isn't right. So my guess it has something to do with that. She now needs to replace any that were loosened, or released during that moment of stress.
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