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Has anyone used suncream/spray on their bald chickens?

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Hi everyone,

One of my ex-caged hens has not really grown any feathers on her bald patches since we got her back in Feb.  She particularly has a large bald patch on her back which is looking a bit red as she wonders out free range most of the day.  She loves to sunbathe with the other chickens (plenty of shade available through garden and in run) - so she isn't trying to stay out of the sun.  Should I be applying suncream or a spray? If so, a human one is all I have to hand - will that be ok?

Also has anyone else had experience with ex-caged hens taking this long to re-feather?  She lays every day (the others stopped laying and grew almost completely new set of feathers) but she has only covered her bare bottom with the white fluffy feathers and nothing of the top feathers to be seen!

Despite her appearance (smaller size and smaller eggs) she is top chicken!

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Hello, BHWT regional co-ordinator here, also been rehoming ex-commercial hens since 2007. In my experience it is best to leave them be. As long as they have somewhere shady to go (if not, create these spaces), their normal layer pellets and water available at all times, they will eventually realise where it’s best to be. 

The skin will appear red, but bald patches will also appear red in winter when it’s cold, too. I wouldn't put any sun cream on it and I don’t put Vaseline or woolly jackets on them or whatever in winter either. They don’t need it.

It depends on the hen, the weather and why she lost the feathers as to when she feathers up. Some will do it quickly, others will take months. Some ex-commercials are actually moulting when they are rehomed so they’ll feather up quicker than those that have lost feathers due to pecking.

Either way, don’t worry about them. They may look as weak as kittens but very few hens need extra care, just time and patience to figure things out. Just feed them a good quality layers pellet and water, and keep treats to a very bare minimum (same for all hens).

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