When you notice that one or more of your chickens are missing feathers, it can be a bit unsettling. There could be many reasons for this. We’ve got some useful tips to understand why your chickens might be losing a few feather and remedies that you can try to remedy.
Why chickens lose their feather
One of the most common causes of missing feathers is molting. In mature birds, molting happens once a year, 16 months and older. Chickens will molt once a year, usually in the fall, removing their feathers from their heads and all over their bodies.
Because the re-growing of new feathers puts great demands on a chicken, the production of eggs decreases significantly or stops altogether while molting. Molting can take 4 to 12 weeks or more, anywhere.
Feather loss on a chicken can happen anywhere. Often paying attention to where feathers are absent may mean what’s wrong. Feathers that are missing on the head may be caused by other chickens molting, lice or aggression. Broody hens peck at their feathers to the throat. Random bald spots could be from parasites, flock bullies, or the chicken pecking their own feathers.
When you find the feathers are missing in the vent area, there may be various causes-mites, lice, worms, self-pecking, bullying, or the hen may be bound with an egg. When feathers are missing in the back of the hen ‘s neck below wings, this is possibly caused by the rooster during mating.
You need to understand why chickens lose feathers to mitigate the feather loss. In certain cases, chickens may actively peck at their own feathers or other chickens in the flock may peck them out. In reality, pecking is instinctive for chickens. They are curious creatures, and they explore by pecking. Chickens normally peck at things that attract their attention like shiny objects or bugs that move
Chickens living in too close quarters may get bored and start pecking one another. This occurs more often in winter, as they find themselves in the hen house spending a lot of time. To avoid overcrowding, plan to have roughly 10 square feet of space for each chicken.
Every hen house is in a pecking order. Hens determine their order by pecking each other inside the flock. Chickens are attracted to the color red. If a chicken becomes injured and is bleeding, other birds in the flock that peck at the red blood can seriously injure it.
Injured chickens need to be moved out of the flock for their safety immediately. Over-mating can lead to pecking of hen too. A flock should have eight or more hens at one rooster to eliminate this problem. You can also buy a block of poultry which allows the pecking to take place elsewhere.
If your chickens appear to peck at their own feathers, this may be a symptom of parasites from outside. Mites and fleas, common pests, live near roosts and inside nesting boxes in the cracks and crevices of the chicken coop. At night, they suck the blood of the chicken and irritate their skin which leads to these sensitive spots being pecked.
Lice can be a nuisance, as well. Lice eat dead skin and other debris such as casings of feather quills where the feathers meet the skin causing itching and a burning sensation. Chickens try using feather pecking to fight the discomfort. Monthly inspections of each chicken can help to identify parasites within the flock. Another reason to peck is worms. If you suspect worms, take a diagnosis and treatment with your veterinarian.
How to make chicken regain their loss feathers
Is there anything that can help chickens regenerate their feathers? Although the natural cycle cannot be speeded up, there are some things you can do to build the best atmosphere for your flock:
- Maintain living space for your chickens-regularly clean the coop, roost, and nest boxes.
- Provide dietary protein-Ensure your chickens have a protein-rich diet. Offer moderately protein-rich treats like mealworms and sunflower seeds.
- Boredom prevention-Keep your chickens happy and busy so they don’t get bored and start pecking each other. We can be distracted by supervised free-ranging and a cabbage piñata.
- Provide a bath of dust-Give your chickens a place to bathe in their running field. Dust bathing is a natural way for chickens to clean their feathers instinctively in order to eliminate parasites.
- Remove a pecked chicken-If a chicken lacks feathers and is pecked by other flock members, it has to be removed into a separate living area until the feathers grow back.
Where to buy Chickens in Akwa Ibom State
Since chicken is the only meat that has no negative health conditions, you can always use it to prepare any local and continental dishes of your choice. In Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria, you can buy chickens from sofreshchikens.
Uyo, The Akwa Ibom State capital:
Number 215 Udo Umana Street opposite Akpan Andem Market, Uyo
Oron, Akwa Ibom State:
Number 27 Market Square by Aba Street, Oron, Akwa Ibom State