Why do my chickens have bald patches?
Bald patches are usually the result of one of two things; moulting or feather pecking.
It is perfectly natural for your chicken to lose feathers; this is usually down to moulting. A chicken’s first moult is shortly after they hatch and they will have two, sometimes three moults before they achieve their adult plumage. Thereafter, they will moult once a year, usually in early autumn although this can be dependent on the amount of daylight available. An early moult, or perhaps an interim small moult, can be triggered by a sudden change in the daylight hours or temperature, even in the summer. Typically, as the daylight hours shorten a chicken’s metabolic body clock changes – they eat less and they start to moult.
Some chickens will experience a gradual moult, replacing feathers progressively, working down the body from head to tail, whereas others (the best layers can often be the heavier moulters) can experience a ‘total feather-drop’ and be virtually naked, which can look alarming.
During a moult they are likely to look withdrawn, paler in the face, comb and wattles and will very likely stop laying eggs as feather regrowth will take up all of the available nutrients, so it is essential to support them through this difficult period with extra care and high-quality nutrition and supplementation.
Nutritional supplementation of Biotin and other essential vitamins is key during moult to support them through their change into their new winter wardrobe!
Nettex Vit Boost Tonic is packed full of Vitamins and Biotin to support feather regrowth.
If it is not autumn and your chicken has wounds alongside bald patches, it could mean that you have a bully in the flock, who has pecked away at your chicken or the chicken herself has pulled her own feathers showing signs of some sort of discomfort. Heavy Lice or Mite infestation can be cause of your chicken pulling her own feathers. Be sure to perform a check of the housing and the chicken to determine whether Lice or Mites are present.