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Older Hens and Feather development

I have a 6.5 year old Wyandotte hen. After she molted this fall her quill feathers never developed properly and so she now has a sparse covering of quill feathers. She has a good covering of down which has allowed her to survive our winter. Her behavior is normal, she is alert and has good color. Her appetite is good, her vent is clean and her poop appears normal. The other three hens are fully feathered and seem healthy. They all share the same feed and environment. Has anybody seen this condition with older birds?


  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    Hello and welcome to the forum
     ive seen it in cockerels and yes older hens can be a bit sparse but theres usually a reason for it other than old age -i recently lost a 9 year old faverolles whose plumage was perfect and ive got an eight year old araucana who is fully feathered
     Can you tell me where she is in the pecking order?
    also have you checked for parasites ?..feather mites actually burrow under feathers causing them to drop or not grow and are quite likely to pick on one hen over others
     the obvious cause would be lack of protein - sometimes individual hens will need more protein than others so even if the others arent showing a deficiency she could still be  ....poultry spice is ideal for helping during and after a moult also treats such as mealworms and sunflower seeds would help
    hope ive helped a bit
    x Kath

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