my white hen is loosing feathers all over the yard! : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have a white leghorn, who is about three years old. Although she is kept for laying she is also somewhat of a pet. Pennsylavania has had a record breaking warm fall and winter, it is only in the past five days that the temperature has dropped to the 20's and 30's. She is outside in an unheated shed, but it is insulated, and there is plenty of straw. Today, I went outside and there were white feathers all over inside the coop. They seem to be falling out around her neck; however, when I picked her up some of her tail feathers also fell out. I also have a Rhode Island Red and a Bared Plymouth Rock both of whom seem fine; although no one has been laying for the past week. I am concerned about all of the following: 1.) do you think she has anything the others could catch? 2.) Is it possible that she is too cold? 3.) Isn't this too late in the year for her to moult? 4.) Is three years old all I could expect from a chicken? I would really appreciate anyone's help...she has been a faithful pet and I don't want her to suffer in anyway. PLEASE HELP IS YOU CAN...THANKS

-- Elisa (, December 27, 2001


Hello Elisa,

Shes probably just going into "a moult". My chickens here in the Ozarks were into "a moult" even though the weather has been cold. They stopped laying for about six weeks and now their feathers are back and they are laying again.



-- (, December 27, 2001.

Have you had her more than a year? If so, and she didn't molt at this time last year I would suspect some kind of a mite. A depluming mite will burrow into the feather shaft causing feathers to fall out. This is treated by sulfur powder dissolved in water and dunking in the whole chicken, keeping only her head out. This mite can be brought in by wild birds, we have had one go-around with it in 20 years. Of course all the chickens should be treated, and would have to be kept someplace warm to dry - a definite problem this time of year. If you think this might be the problem, let me know and I'll look up the mixing proportions.

-- Dianne Wood (, December 28, 2001.

4) Six years, nine years, like that - no exact figure, but can/should be way over three years if you're not expecting her to maintain peak production.

1) No.

3) Yes, but her body's probably going by the weather, and as you said it was probably too warm for her body to be triggered into moulting until now, when it's happening all at once and suddenly.

2) Absolutely. There were other threads in one of the poultry categories on the subject of "molting" or "losing feathers" - check them out. One of them had suggestions for a pullover top for moulting poultry. Either that or lock her in away from draughts with a heat lamp or light bulb until the feathers grow back.

-- Don Armstrong (, December 28, 2001.

Can I please get the details for the sulfer powder mix, my chicken has all the symptoms. Thanks Tahna

-- Tahna (, February 02, 2002.

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