September and half our chickens are bare. : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Excellent sight! We live on the Alaska hwy. Starting to freeze at night and have new 2 yr old hens. One Rooster. Half have no feathers, more on underside. We are concerned that they will not regrow before cold and suffer a bad end. I will try ash dust bath, but how fast do feathers regrow? May have to kill them. Will try separating them from Rooster as well. We live about 120 miles from town so home remedies are welcome.

-- Colin Leake (, August 28, 2001


Hello way up there. Just today I was noting how my girls keep inside the coop to stay out of the heat during the day (90's).

Are they doing their normal molting period? I wonder, do northern birds know NOT to molt during the winter months? Do you have an insulated coop?

Best of luck.

-- Ann Markson (, August 29, 2001.

Hi Colin. I can not help you with your birds but perhaps you could tells us what it is like living 120 miles from town. How do you make it there? Are you off grid, how do you get internet service. How often do you go to town. My truck would not make the round trip on one fill up.

-- ed (, August 29, 2001.

Do you think this is a normal molt or stressed induced(change in diet etc)or perhaps lice or mites? Sounds serious.

-- Little Quacker (, August 29, 2001.

Hi Colin, I guess it would depend on the size of the bare spots. I had some big Buff Orp. Hens that were pretty bare backed and put them in a moveable coop by themselves(away from rooster). They got plenty of feed and fresh grass and water. They have been in there about two months, they went off laying for a tad, during a molt I assume, but are laying fine now and I can hardly see the bare spots any longer. ~Brenda~

-- Brenda (, August 29, 2001.

I'm afraid I didn't have good luck when I was in the same situation that you seem to be in. A couple years ago the weather held out quite late and one of my hens held off her molting along with the fine weather. When she finally molted, she did so with gusto and was quite denuded. The cold weather came on abruptly and she died of exposure. My hens are shut in a draft free, double-walled hen house at night and I have never had any problems with them getting too cold except for that one time.

-- Sheryl in ME (, August 29, 2001.

It's likely 1 rooster wouldn't cause a serious feather loss on many hens (although you didn't say how many hens you had). It could be a moult as other suggested, or mites. Pick up one of the hens & lift some of her feathers so you can see the skin. Do you see mites? Another good place to check for mite infestation is the vent area. If you don't see an excess of mites the feather loss is likely a molt or roosters fault if you have only a couple hens.

Take dry cat food and soak in water until soft. The extra protein in cat food will make their feathers grow in a hurry. If you have no cat food, feed boiled egg.

If it's obvious they're beginning to suffer the frigid temps due to lack of feathers, i'd suggest adding a heat lamp in the coop or butchering them.

-- Buk Buk (, August 29, 2001.

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