Have you ever had a chicken NOT molt?

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Happy
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Have you ever had a chicken NOT molt?

Post by Happy » Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:40 pm

I'm not sure if I'm worrying about nothing so here's the story:
17 month old barred rock (Phoebe), still laying daily...My only adult not experiencing molt this fall/winter.
Her "sister" (same age) has finished her molt and has baby feathers covering her body but I have had to seperate her because the one in question started plucking out her pin feathers...Which resulted in two others joining in!
This solves my previous post regarding another who had pin feathers missing on her back...I think it was Phoebe that did it.
Phoebe has always been a bit neurotic...She's bossy but not lead hen. I thought she was molting as her bum and belly are naked but she continues to lay and her skin looks red and dry. But she has no feathers growing in and no evidence of pin feathers being plucked out.
Now she has started laying eggs on the floor the past couple days which none of mine have ever done. She is the only one laying currently so there's no nesting box squabbles going on.
They've been on a combination duck grower/pullet grower since around September...She eats lots of oyster shell. They also get scratch and boss twice a day. I've managed to get Phoebe to eat cat food thinking she may still be lacking protein but it doesn't seem to help.
I'm leaning towards a possible skin irritation making her a little nuts and pulling her own feathers out. Or I've read about feather mites (not the run of the mill ones...They live in the feather shaft) driving chickens a bit nuts. Anybody dealt with them? She was wormed this fall and chickens and coop are mite free best I can tell. Her body condition is good but on the light side (always has been a smallish girl) I never see her scratching or picking. I'm at a loss but her behavior is disruptive to the relative calm I see when I remove her and if I can't figure it out I think she's gotta go. None of the others are exhibiting any of her issues. Coop is 8x10 with attached 8x14 covered pen on dirt/sand and loads of scratching material for 9 LF and 3 banties. Phoebe also gets outside when she chooses and I have time to guard her (coyotes are BAD)
Any ideas?
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Jaye
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Have you ever had a chicken NOT molt?

Post by Jaye » Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:54 pm

Some of my hens moulted in stages, and it wasn't obvious that they were moulting at all, except that there were always a few of their feathers around. Not a lot, but some. Is it possible that is what she's doing?
If not, is she being picked on (or bullied/harrassed) by any of the others, by any chance? The change in her laying habits kind of points to something bothering her. What about rodents? Any possibility that there are rodents making themselves at home in the coop and causing stress for the chickens?
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Happy
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Have you ever had a chicken NOT molt?

Post by Happy » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:14 pm

She's definitely not picked on. My 3 banties and 2 old girl barred rocks don't put up with her crap but they're not nasty to her. She pecks and chases everyone else. Aside from the pin feather plucking I haven't seen anything that I wouldn't put down to normal pecking order stuff...Never any blood drawn.
I did think she was having a light molt when I noticed her bare bum a couple weeks ago. Never had a barred rock have anything other than a hard molt lol. But then I picked her up and saw her naked, red belly and the feathers seem chewed off. I will get a pic tomorrow. I haven't seen any evidence of rodents but will check again just in case.
She just seems hopped up all the time...Never relaxes. She's always been a bit like this she just seems to be getting worse.
Thanks for your thoughts
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Happy
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Have you ever had a chicken NOT molt?

Post by Happy » Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:03 pm

I finally got a chance today to get pics of this girl. She is back to laying in the nesting box and spent a considerable amount of time in there today. I'm almost starting to think she's trying to brood.

Here's her belly. Bad pick but she was not impressed and squirming for her life
IMG_2965-1224x1632.JPG
Bum
IMG_2964-1224x1632.JPG
Rest of her. She sat in the nesting box on and off for about 4 hours today then finally laid a smallish egg just before dusk
IMG_2982-1224x1632.JPG
I cleaned under/around food bins today and didn't see any rodent droppings so I don't think that's the issue. She's still just acting nuts.
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windwalkingwolf
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Have you ever had a chicken NOT molt?

Post by windwalkingwolf » Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:52 pm

I've never had a chicken NOT moult, though sometimes it's hard to notice, sometimes a bird that has a hard moult one year will have a 'soft' one the next...I've had more than a few wait until January to drop feathers. That doesn't look like moult or rodent damage...rodents will usually chew the ends off primaries. Those feathers have either been plucked, most likely by her, or sometimes an overweight hen will get those bald patches especially on bum (I'm afraid I'm guilty of overfeeding my girls, especially in winter lol), but she doesn't look all that fat. It's possible she's thinking about going broody,but if she is, you would expect her to be spending a lot of time on the nest AFTER she laid and not before. An enigma!
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Happy
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Have you ever had a chicken NOT molt?

Post by Happy » Sat Dec 31, 2016 6:35 pm

Thx www...I agree it's not molt. Just wish I knew what was causing her to do this and to pull pin feathers out of others. She's not fat. I weighed all mine late summer and she was 2.2kg. My two-big barred rocks were 3kg
I got everyone back together today since the most recent molters feathers were open enough that I figured Phoebe wouldn't pull them. Will see if things settle down a bit over the next few days.
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Happy
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Re: Have you ever had a chicken NOT molt?

Post by Happy » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:39 pm

This girl has a vet appointment tomorrow. In typical fashion I have a sick chicken just days before leaving on vacation. It never fails. I think Phoebe is laying internally. She had a full molt in the summer and then laid consistently until about beginning of December then suddenly stopped but her colour was very red like an active layer. Now her abdomen is very swollen and she has a hard time breathing when she lays down. She's been in the house for the past couple days. I know internal laying can't be fixed. Never buying hatchery girls again...
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Killerbunny
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Re: Have you ever had a chicken NOT molt?

Post by Killerbunny » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:20 pm

Oh sorry to hear that.
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windwalkingwolf
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Re: Have you ever had a chicken NOT molt?

Post by windwalkingwolf » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:51 am

Internal laying CAN be fixed, but only if you and your vet are willing and able to spay her. Of course, she would never lay eggs again, but It's an option if she's a beloved pet and you'd like to try and keep her around for a couple more years. Assuming you can afford the endeavor and you have a vet willing to remove her reproductive system.
Unfortunately, there is only one other option, I'm sorry :(
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Happy
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Re: Have you ever had a chicken NOT molt?

Post by Happy » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:02 pm

Just home from the vets. Phoebe was euthanized. The vet drew fluid from her belly and believed that based on the colour she was in liver or heart failure but most likely liver. No recovering from that. At least she won't suffer and I don't have to worry about passing a problem off on my niece who moves in to look after animals while I'm on vacation. Phoebe was an odd girl her entire life and picked on 2 other girls at times so fiercely that I had to remove her. But she also didn't leave Big Momma's side when she was recovering from sour crop and she LOVED Sherman the bantam rooster and was very devoted to him. I have a feeling my coop will be a bit calmer in her absence but I will still miss her. RIP Phoebe Deebs.
IMG_20180213_150034.jpg
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