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Why is my hen losing her feathers?

(6 Posts)
ProfYaffle Wed 21-Oct-09 14:43:03

I'm hoping it's as simple as moulting but I'm not sure. She started losing a few back in the summer, we thought it was red mite so scrubbed and re-painted the coop, diotome powder etc etc.

She continued losing feathers and stopped laying but our other hen was fine so we thought she was just moulting. After a couple of weeks her feathers started to re-grow and she started laying again.

However, the last week or so it's started again. I noticed the top of her head is going bald and just yesterday and today she's losing large amounts of feathers from her breast area. If she just shakes herself, they all fly off all over the place. She seems to have stopped laying again too. Other hen still fine.

So, any ideas? Is it possible she's still moulting or could it be something else? The feather loss has co-incided with the weather turning quite cold and rainy, winter covers been put on the run just today. Don't know if this is relevant or just co-incidence.

Chickenshavenolips Wed 21-Oct-09 14:44:45

It's almost certainly the moult. A couple of mine do it in stages, so just as the garden begins to look respectable again they sort of explode grin I add poultry spice to their pellets, just to give them a bit of a boost

ProfYaffle Wed 21-Oct-09 14:51:13

Oh that's a relief, I hope it is just moulting. Feathers are everywhere though in the wet at least they don't fly around so much.

Chickenshavenolips Wed 21-Oct-09 14:52:33

Mine also get very grumpy when moulting, and complain if I handle them etc. They can also look a bit poorly and miserable. A few extra treats usually sorts it wink

luckyblackcat Wed 21-Oct-09 14:54:59

Chickens have got to be the stoopidist animals around, fancy moulting just as the cold weather comes - although tbf, if they did it in the summer they'd get burnt!

Last winter one of my old gals looked oven ready and it was snowing, I did start to knit her a jumper but am so slow she had grown most back - at least I'll have it for this yr!

ProfYaffle Wed 21-Oct-09 15:52:16

Yes, moulty hen is super grumpy. Marmite on toast is it then.

luckyblackcat - that's why I was worried I thought they can't be stupid enough to moult in winter, surely? I'm feeling sorry for her with her little baldy head being rained on. Not bright enough to stand under the cover on the run apparently hmm

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