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Author Topic: Chicken losing feathers in January  (Read 11255 times)

juliet

  • Joined Jan 2008
Chicken losing feathers in January
« on: January 13, 2008, 12:51:18 pm »
Hi
My name is Julie and Ive just joined. The primary reason for joining was to be able to speak to people who keep animals on a very small scale-well more like pets I suppose!At the moment we've only got one chicken ,Nelly.Her sister died two months ago.Nelly has just developed alot of feather loss. Her coop is full of feathers in the morning -just as if shes been plucked. I cant say if shes doing this herself or if they are just dropping out but the fact that they appear in the coop and not outside leads us to believe shes plucking them herself. Shes not making a nest as they are all over the floor and in any case she has plenty of straw and nesting boxes. Does anyone have any ideas on how to stop this? We will be taking her to the vet this week but any suggestions from experienced poultry keepers would be appreciated. Could she be lonely after the loss of her sister?We do plan to get a couple more chickens soon.
thanks 
Voss Electric Fence

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Chicken losing feathers in January
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2008, 02:44:22 pm »
Hi Julie

Are you sure she's not just moulting? Although the books say chickens moult in the late summer, our Black Rocks were scabby as anything at Christmas. The majority of feathers are usually in the ark, too - whether the feathers fall out at night more or just blow away if they are outside, I don't know.

Does she seem OK otherwise - eating drinking, perky? I'm sure she will be missing her companion.

Hilarysmum

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Chicken losing feathers in January
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2008, 05:27:17 pm »
Hi lovely to hear from someone who loves their hens especially after the television programmes we have been hearing about over here.  Not a great hen expert, wonder though if perhaps she might like company too?

Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
  • Administrator
  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
    • The Accidental Smallholder
    • Facebook
Re: Chicken losing feathers in January
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2008, 06:58:35 pm »
Hi Julie. How old is she? Most chickens will moult once a year, the first time at about a year old, to rejuvenate their plumage.

The Queensland Government have a really good page about moulting on their site where you can learn more, and stress is mentioned as a possible trigger for moulting.

Definitely agree with Rosemary about getting her some company - if she's been used to being part of a flock (however small) you should re-establish that as soon as possible.

Hope this helps, please let us know how you get on.

Dan

Fluffywelshsheep

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Near Stirling, Central Scotland
Re: Chicken losing feathers in January
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2008, 08:37:48 pm »
maybe she is just a bit lonly and has no one (chicken) to talk to :).

carl

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Chicken losing feathers in January
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2008, 09:28:40 am »
hopefully it is a bit of both, moulting and lonliness. get her a friend or two. also make sure she gets good nutrition, with plenty of vitamins in, as she will need all the help she can get to grow new plumage this time of year( as well as keeping warm). this winter weather is not going down too well with my birds, so i make sure they have plenty of shelter, and good nutrition. I think it was rosemary who recommended feeding sardines or pilchards in oil at such times, it seems to work.( just alittle once a week during moult).

Townie

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Fife
    • http://www.townie.wordpress.com
Re: Chicken losing feathers in January
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2008, 12:45:57 pm »
My Light Sussex went into moult at the beginning of december, just as you are described.

It does make your chookie look rather naked to say the least, but her feathers will grow back in no time at all.

A couple of new friends wouldnt go amiss for her too, I suspect she might get a tad down if she is on her own for a long period of time.


katrina4068

  • Joined Dec 2007
Re: Chicken losing feathers in January
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2008, 05:34:29 pm »
Hi,

3 of ours have just moulted. the first one i was distruaght with, by the time hers grew back and the other 2 started i'd calmed donw and realised they werent dying!!
have noticed than when they are doing this they tend to go to bed earlier than the others and get up later (no idea if related but all 3 have done it!)
it might be worth checking if you have red mite though as this can cause it. Diatoms (which is a fine powder of ground up prehistoric creatures that is really sharp to the little mites) will get rid of them almost straight away. 95% of them die first night. you cant see the red mites by eye and theyre nocturnal. which makes detection hard but for about £10 you can make sure if you have them they are eradicated!! i havent got the name of the guy wiht me where i get them but will repost it later when i get home. He will send the stuff to you in the post which is mightly helpful! :)

only know so much having de mited mine this weekend!!

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Chicken losing feathers in January
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2008, 09:28:32 pm »
They do look incredibly scruffy and sick when they moult. We took some photos of ours - if I can find them, I'll get Dan to put them on. At least it will be a comfort to anyone who hasn't seen it before becaause they all survived and are thriving.

We were told to give them high oil feed when moulting, so we give them three tins of sardines once a week (between 13). They also help themselves to any stray sunflower seeds that fall out the bird feeders. And sometimes we give them a few for themselves.

Micki

  • Joined Jan 2008
  • North Notts
    • Facebook
Re: Chicken losing feathers in January
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2008, 11:38:50 am »
! of my hens ( i have 10) is looking in a state. She's been moulting for about 3 weeks now. She looks like she's been plucked on parts of her body but she is fine, eating and drinking well. It sounds like she is moulting and probably missing company of her own type(chickens).

Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
  • Administrator
  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
    • The Accidental Smallholder
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Re: Chicken losing feathers in January
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2008, 02:31:23 pm »
Here's a photo of a moulting Light Sussex. This isn't particularly bad, sometimes they will lose feathers from all over their neck, back and breast.

Their combs tend to droop a bit and go off-colour during the moult too, but the new plumage soon comes through and they look like new.

Tony J

  • Joined Dec 2007
Re: Chicken losing feathers in January
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2008, 11:03:27 am »
I still have some hens moulting, I find it helps them if you give them some warm layers mash a couple of times a week

Tony   

katrina4068

  • Joined Dec 2007
Re: Chicken losing feathers in January
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2008, 09:56:52 pm »
hot sweetcorn is also good for them too!!

just to let you know about the red mite stuff World wide poultry in Beaulieu sell it and he sends it out by post.
Just bought a new duck from him and he offers a scheme where you pay a membership of £50 or £45 can't quite remember which for the year and anything you get from him is 10% off (feed etc if you live locally, the red mite stuff, prills, disinfectent) and he also sends you vaccines twice a year for newcasles disease and (foel pest) and infectiouis bronchitis. about £50 per go if you get them from the vets.
He's also happy to chat to you if you have a problem with one of your birds (2 calls from me already in 3 weeks... err) and again if you live locally has also said if they get bumble foot rather than taking to the vets you can take it to him to sort out for nowt! and any other minor ailments. oh yes also sends out worming stuff for the birds too!
Sounded good to me. Even the 3 hour round trip would work out cheaper than going to the vets who'd sting me for £50 easily!!
He's called Ron, really nice guy. Breeds chickens (all sorts of breed ... liking the look of the white leghorns at the moment...!!!) and ducks so expert in all fields!! also sends a newslaetter out monthly (answers to all sorts of questions including those on moult, sexing chicks..dealing wiht foxy etc)

Web address below:

www.worldwidepoultry.co.uk

thought was brilliant in truth especailly as the vets near us dont tend to get lots of chickens and ducks through the door and are not expert in them by any stretch of the imagination....

 

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