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Is this normal winter behaviour?

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Hello :)


My chickens will be 3 years old in the new year and they're doing things i haven't noticed before so just wanted to get it checked with you guys.


Firstly, Shirley. Earlier in the year we had an issue with Shirley where we had to take her to the vet with suspected egg bound. She stopped eating, was easy to catch and was generally sad. The vet managed to pull a deflated soft shell out and it seemed to do the trick.


Since she has been laying very irregularly and often has eggs with very deformed shells, like painted rust. Sometime they are soft shelled too but the main diet is layers pellets with grit and shell but they are pretty free range too so don't know.


Also, now it's getting cold she is in the coop most of the day except for about 5 hours unlike the others.


What do you think? Is she in a bad way?


Secondly we have Pepsi. She seems mainly ok. She is very good layer even when it gets cold and she has only just started laying less. The problem is that she is suddenly very feather bare, it seems to have happened overnight. All of her tail feathers have gone! Her neck is very patchy, underneath i can see about 1cm long white sticks some with tufts on the tips.


Lastly we have Penelope. She is the least concerning for a change. She usually lays huge green eggs and they have suddenly gone quite small - is that normal? Also, her tail feather are looking ever so slightly scragly.


Any advice about my chickens would be greatly welcomed as i don't want there to be something that i should be doing that i'm not.


Thanks xx

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Sounds like moult to me. My Orpington, Daisy, stopped laying, started moulting and halfway through started laying again so she has a very bare backside at the moment. My Jasmine recently lost some feathers on her neck and her tail and looked very scruffy but a couple of weeks - and some Lifeguard - later she is back laying and looking better. Hens cannot regrow feathers and keep laying so something has to give. Provide extra protein and some tonic in the water such as Lifeguard which really helps.

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Your two babies will probably not lose more than the odd feather but the older ones will normally moult now.


I had a hybrid that never moulted in 3 years just lost an odd feather. My oldest usually waits until it's really cold and bleak then drops most of her feathers :roll:

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Chicken moults are a subject of their own. The pure breeds tend to take longer to moult and mine certainly do it around mid November. Hybrids are usually quicker and appear to lose less. Milly, my Warren, managed the amazing feat of both shedding/growing feathers whilst only stopping laying for 2 days, although her shells were a bit thin for a couple of weeks. Basically as much good protein and supplements you can give them :)

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