Gracie wasn’t attacked by a predator, she is molting. I’ve been finding feathers everywhere for days.
She’ll regrow them in 4-8 weeks (hopefully).
I put two and two together last night. I haven’t gotten one of those extra-large rectangular eggs in a couple of days. Molting chickens stop laying, Gracie is noticeably losing feathers, hence, Gracie is not only molting, she is the one who lays enormous eggs. (Go Gracie!)
When chickens are molting they need about 20 percent more protein in their diet. It must take lots of energy to regrow feathers. So I’ve been feeding them a scoop of dry cat food with their regular food - they gobble it up. And when the tiny feathers are coming in they are very sensitive, even painful! If one of the pin feathers breaks it will bleed!
Yesterday I was checking the chickens for injuries and petted them while hand feeding. All the hens shrink from my touch a little but Gracie hunkers down. Poor thing, I think I was hurting her!
I won’t pet her again until her feathers have grown thick.
She looks a little ragged around the edges - partially pulled out feathers sticking out here and there on her body and rump. She’s having a bad feather day and then some. The loss of feathers is revealing more white splotches.
I hope she’ll start laying again after she’s finished molting. I haven’t found any information that they start laying again, but nothing to say they don’t either.
When a chicken molts they lose feathers from the head down, she’s lost so many feathers it looks like someone lost a pillow fight inside the coop.