We at the typesofchicken.com team are concerned about your chickens well being and we give our best to give you a sufficient amount of advices and facts about how to keep your chickens happy and productive. Some time ago we gave an article about Common Health Problems and Solutions about your chickens.
Since that article we have been pecking around for the main reasons why your chickens are losing feathers except molting. Molting is a natural process in the life of a chicken but it is not the only reason why your chickens are losing their feathers. These are the most common reasons why your chickens are losing their feathers.
We have discussed many times that chickens are bullying each other. But what we have not discussed before is how they actually bully one another. The bully often pecks the feathers of the other chickens while they are sleeping or when they are playing in the run.
The worst is the feather pecking when they are sleeping because it is very difficult to notice in the dark. Now something that you can do about this is to change the places where they are sleeping or if they are consistent in bullying some people prefer beak trimming.
2. Protein Deficiency
You might know this already but still we will say it – protein is the main essential nutrient in the feathers and eggs of chickens. Depending on which chicken resource you are dependent of – adult chickens need diets around 15-17% of protein intake.
Chickens often lack in protein since we are frequently sharing kitchen scraps, fruits and veggies with them. This is why eating feathers is a result of them seeking another source to compensate for this protein deficiency.
3. Mites and Fleas
Missing feathers can sometimes be the only sign of mites. Mites as a species are very elusive. They often hide in the less reachable places of the coop and come out and feed on the chickens under the cover of darkness. They finish sucking the blood of the chickens in the dark and in the morning they will return to their hiding place.
It is very common that chicken keepers only find them on their chickens with a flashlight in the evening. Mites that crawl and move across the chickens cause itching. This will annoy the chickens and it can lead to chickens pecking at those spots.
This is how feather loss can be directly connected to mites and fleas. If you want to avoid mites in your coop make sure you check out our previous article on how to clean your chicken coop the natural way.
4. Vent Pecking
Rare known fact – chickens love to peck at red objects, after your chicken lays an egg its vent gets swollen and red for some time. It is not uncommon that during this period some other chicken notices the vent and out of curiosity starts to peck at it.
This can lead to very serious injuries and even death to the laying chicken.
You can avoid vent pecking if you darken the shed a bit so the red is not as provocative to the other chickens as it would be in normal light. Some chicken keepers prefer letting their chickens out in the run few hours after the chickens have laid their eggs and their vents are back to normal.