Saturday, January 29, 2011

Help! Lucy is Naked!

My favorite little hen, Lucy, is in need of help!!!
Lucy never molted last autumn.  The other chickens her age lost their feathers and got new feathers in.  Now they are fluffy and pretty and warm. 
Lucy, on the other hand, lost her feathers. and continued to lose her feathers.
And now she's bald.
Naked.
And cold.

Here's a picture of Lucy last spring back when she was a young pullet with a full coat of feathers. 
Beware, the rest of the pictures are awful.
 
Lucy last May

It's hard for me to see Lucy like this. It's hard for me to let anyone else see her like this. Really, I do not abuse my chickens! They are spoiled and happy birds, normally.

Lucy is 1 year and 3 months old now.  She started losing her feathers last autumn, and it has gotten continually worse.  She has been wearing a chicken apron for about a month now.  We thought her feathers were starting to grow back in and she was picking them out, so we put the chicken apron on her.  That would protect her from herself, and from the other birds. 
But even underneath the apron she's still bald.
None of the other birds look like her.
Poor girl.

Lucy wearing her apron

Lucy without the apron


Putting the apron back on is easy.  First place it on her back
It snaps under one wing

And then it snaps under the other wing

I'm sure Lucy's feather loss is caused by roosters, as we do have 5 spare cockerels that we need to get rid of.  But the other hens don't look like this.  Many of them are more passive than Lucy. 
Why is Lucy the only victim?  Is it because she didn't molt last year and everyone else did? 
There is no chance that this was caused by any other animal, as the chicken pen is absolutely protected, as safe as Fort Knox.  Lucy is one of the smallest hens we have, as she is a bantam.

Any discussion or assistance is welcome!

The cockerels will have to be taken care of and I hope Lucy starts to show improvement.  Lucy is my sweetest bird. In the summertime I let her out of the chicken pen and she follows me all around the yard. She never runs away from me, she always comes to me.  Her most favorite treat in the entire world is earthworms.  I dig in the ground and she pulls earthworms out of the ground before I even see them.  She gets so excited and happy.  She always spends time with me in the garden.  She hates to go back in the chicken pen, I've always said that she doesn't think she's a chicken. 
She's my Lucy. 

17 comments:

chook said...

it almost doesn't look like a molt, maybe rooster action. poor girl!

it took a long time for my hens to get their feathers back this year. maybe it's their age. they started molting right when it started getting cold. which doesn't make any sense to me, but that seems to be how it works.

Farm Girl said...

I have one poor hen in the same predicament. I don't have any roosters, and she is so naked and I can't figure it out either. I have been thinking of just bringing her in the house just because the cold seems to be making her insane.

Sandy said...

I also have one that looks very similar but I'm pretty sure that it's the roosters to blame.

I gots to get rid of me some roosters! ;)

Hopefully Lucy will be back to her beautiful feathered self soon!

Knatolee said...

Lynn, I am having the same problem with my Chicky and I think it's mostly rooster issues. She is improving with her saddle but now I've ordered her one with shoulder protection! (From the place you got your saddle.) Chicky has always been at the bottom of the pecking order which doesn't help.

She spends a lot of time under the heat lamps, and seems to be staying warm enough. Here's hoping both Lucy AND CHicky get their feathers back soon.

Knatolee said...

And knowing birds, I think it can take time for feathers to grow back, especially at this time of year. I wonder if there's some dietary supplement we can give them to encourage feather growth? I'm going to do some research.

If it makes you feel any better, Chicky looks as bad as Lucy, and you know I spoil my chickens like you do. It's very upsetting. Hang in there!

Sue said...

Poor Lucy! Hopefully she'll be back to her old self soon!

Genny said...

Poor Lucy. She needs a chicken sweater. Seriously.

Kessie said...

I wonder if it's some kind of vitamin deficiency? I'd always have a few who looked like that, and it took ages for them to get any feathers. They were usually bottom of the pecking order, too.

Terry said...

Poor Lucy! Wish I could help...

Foothills Poultry said...

Over the years I have had several hens that ended up being a rooster's favoritea and ended up being over mated. That is why I keep most roosters away from the ladies during the winter months. Sometimes they just need a break. You may want to try to make a bachelor pen or if you can relocate the extra boys to the freezer.

~~Matt~~

Verde Farm said...

Oh my--I am sure it will come back, at least I haven’t had one that didn’t. Poor girl. I know you just love her and it hurts to see your chicks in trouble. Keep us posted.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Yeah, the places that she is having feather loss totally looks like rooster damage to me. What I noticed about my girls was that if Roopert (my roo) caused extreme feather loss during a season, the girls would not regrow feathers until their molt. This meant months and months of nakedness (even under their chicken saddles/aprons). I'm hoping that your girl may just be a late molter who will now go about regrowing those feathers your many roosters yanked out. :-)

Gail said...

Lucy just may be extra appealing to the guys.

Anonymous said...

I have a hen, Sassy, who molted late and was having a very hard time growing her new feathers. I have finally isolated her, given her some antibiotics as some of the skin looked infected. Also, I was told to increase her protein. I give her an egg or yogurt or something like that. She actually looks better. At night I put her in a separate crate in the coop with her own water so nobody picks on her. Good Luck! Denise

Knatolee said...

The bachelor pen sounds like a good idea!!!!

Razzberry Corner said...

chook - I think it was rooster action and a SUPER late (maybe no) molt that affected Lucy. isn't it weird how chickens molt when it gets cold? poor birds!

Kim - Did you ever bring your naked hen into the house? Did her feathers ever grow in?

Sandy - Yeah, I'm thinking it was roosters that got Lucy, too. I hope she gets better soooon! :D

Knatolee - Lucy, too, has learned that heat lamps are GOOOOD! Good luck to Chicky - is she getting any better? I'm thinking maybe more protien is needed??

Sue- I hope so, too!

Genny - I saw a bird on some website that was wearing a complete sweater than someone knitted for her. It was cute, and funny! Too bad I'm not that crafty!

~Lynn

Razzberry Corner said...

Kessie - Hmmm, maybe the birds need something extra during these cold winter months? Lucy loves worms during the summer - maybe I'll look into getting her mealworms from the local bird store - we used to feed mealworms to the guineas when they were keets for extra protien.

Terry - Thanks! You are kind! :) I wish I could help her, too!

Matt - good idea!

Amy - Lucy is finally starting to look better - I'm going to do another blog post on her progress soon.

Danni - I certainly hope Lucy doesn't have to look like this till Autumn! Actually, some feather shafts are starting to grow in, I'm hoping she's just a super late molter. Next autumn we'll see if Lilly, her daughter, is also a late molter. That's not a good trait!

Gail - Yep, Lucy is my fav chicken because she's so friendly and has a good temperament, she's probably also the rooster's favorite hen, too!

Denise - Thanks! That's a good idea, to separate the bird (away from those roosters!) And extra protien is good, too! Lucy loves all the extra attention I've been giving her! :) I hope Sassy is doing better!

Knatolee - It does sound like a good idea!

~Lynn