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How long after moulting will she start laying again?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

At least it doesn't look like someone shook out a feather pillow! Her tail feathers are growing back in and she's beginning look like her old cranky self again! So how long before she starts laying again, can any one advise?

post #2 of 8

Here's so info for you: Good luck!
A moult (or molt) is the process of shedding old feathers and growing new ones. During this time, your hens will stop laying, giving their reproductive tract time to rest and rejuvenate. They will also build up their nutrient reserves.

Under normal conditions, the moulting process will occur typically once a year for adult birds. Some individuals will molt twice a year. Rare individuals will molt once in a two year period. Pullets, or immature hens, go through one full and three partial molts prior to coming into lay.

After your chicken has moulted, you will see a reduction in egg production but a higher quality to the eggs. Each year her egg production will diminish, many farmers keep their hens for only a few seasons and then they become dinner. This is strictly a personal preference as they will continue to lay for years, depending on the breed and individual bird. Note that molted birds are hardier and not as prone to disease.

Good layers and poor layers moult differently.

A poor layer will typically moult early, after only a few months in production. Early moulters will shed their feathers slowly and in turn, replace them slowly. Youll start to see a tell tale feather here and there on the ground. This process can last for up to 7 months. You can often tell a poor layer by their appearance; their feathers are softer and they look well groomed.

Feathers are made up mostly of protein, if the hen is not using protein to make eggs, you will see that in her beautiful coat. If you are considering culling your flock, this would be a good place to start.

A good layer is a late moulter. Often these birds will lay for 12-15 months before going into their molt. Late moulters seemingly shed their feathers all at once; youll find piles and piles in their favorite spots and under their roosts. It is a quick process as they shed and re-grow feathers at the same time.

Often this will take place in only 2-3 months, allowing her to return to full production sooner. Some super layers will actually lay well into their molt, although the frequency of eggs will significantly diminish. For the same reason a poor layer has a well-groomed appearance, a good layer will have a more tattered look, due to the use of protein. She is using that protein to make eggs, not pretty feathers.

The order of feather loss is the same for both a slow and a quick moult.

The loss will begin on the face and head, followed by the neck, breast, body, wings and tail. A good layer may continue to produce as her feathers drop from her head and face but by the time she is shedding her wing feathers, egg production will most certainly have ceased.

If you see balding spots on your hens head and back only, and you have a rooster, this is not a moult. While mating, the rooster holds her head feathers with his beak and puts his feet upon her back. If your hen is only showing balding in these spots, the rooster is getting too aggressive with her; you may need to separate them to give her a chance to recover.

Because good layers shed their feathers so quickly during a moult, they may likely have some bald spots. Watch closely to make sure the others in the flock are not pecking at her. If they draw blood, a separation would again be in order. Chickens get very excited over blood and will continue to peck at the poor wounded individual until she bleeds to death.

Also try to keep stray feathers picked up. Remember that feathers are made up mostly of protein. When chickens are experiencing a protein deficiency, they will pluck feathers from each other, or themselves, to eat. Its an important indicator to you that they are experiencing the deficiency so you can takes steps to correct the problem. If you leave feathers lying around, they will eat them and may then pluck feathers because they enjoy this new addition to their diet. You will have lost an important indicator of a problem because they have developed a bad habit.

Moulting is a stressful and tiring process.

Your hen might be quiet, not very active and seem almost shy or embarrassed by the process. Dont be alarmed; give her time to come through it. There are some things you can do to help the process along though; add extra protein, high in amino acids, to her diet. This will make it easier to grow the new feathers. Feeds high in oils will help the new feathers coming in as well. Using artificial light to extend daylight hours to 14 or so will also help as it is the daylight hours that slow production and induce the molt, not the cooler autumn weather.

Moulting is a natural process. However, sometimes we can inadvertently bring on a moult early. Stress, fatigue and poor management can cause an early moult so take good care of your flock but know that sometimes it cant be avoided.

Give your hen good nutrition and good light and shell come through it just fine.

3 cats, 2 dogs, 1 frog and 50+ chickens, 2 Nubian goats, 1 Nubian Buck, 1 Saanen Whether.  I do love my silkies!
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3 cats, 2 dogs, 1 frog and 50+ chickens, 2 Nubian goats, 1 Nubian Buck, 1 Saanen Whether.  I do love my silkies!
Reply
post #3 of 8

Sometimes it takes acouple months, some of mine are molting right now and I do not think I'll get eggs from them til Dec.   smile

Smith/Giles "project" Lavender Orpingtons, Spring of 2012 Part English "project" Lavenders , Part English BBS Orpingtons, Buff Orpingtons and Bantam Light Brahmas.  Follow me down the yellow brick road!!! 

I'm holding out for the gold star !!!!   

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Smith/Giles "project" Lavender Orpingtons, Spring of 2012 Part English "project" Lavenders , Part English BBS Orpingtons, Buff Orpingtons and Bantam Light Brahmas.  Follow me down the yellow brick road!!! 

I'm holding out for the gold star !!!!   

Reply
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you!

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamvan 

Here's so info for you: Good luck!
A moult (or molt) is the process of shedding old feathers and growing new ones. During this time, your hens will stop laying, giving their reproductive tract time to rest and rejuvenate. They will also build up their nutrient reserves.

Under normal conditions, the moulting process will occur typically once a year for adult birds. Some individuals will molt twice a year. Rare individuals will molt once in a two year period. Pullets, or immature hens, go through one full and three partial molts prior to coming into lay.

After your chicken has moulted, you will see a reduction in egg production but a higher quality to the eggs. Each year her egg production will diminish, many farmers keep their hens for only a few seasons and then they become dinner. This is strictly a personal preference as they will continue to lay for years, depending on the breed and individual bird. Note that molted birds are hardier and not as prone to disease.

Good layers and poor layers moult differently.

A poor layer will typically moult early, after only a few months in production. Early moulters will shed their feathers slowly and in turn, replace them slowly. Youll start to see a tell tale feather here and there on the ground. This process can last for up to 7 months. You can often tell a poor layer by their appearance; their feathers are softer and they look well groomed.

Feathers are made up mostly of protein, if the hen is not using protein to make eggs, you will see that in her beautiful coat. If you are considering culling your flock, this would be a good place to start.

A good layer is a late moulter. Often these birds will lay for 12-15 months before going into their molt. Late moulters seemingly shed their feathers all at once; youll find piles and piles in their favorite spots and under their roosts. It is a quick process as they shed and re-grow feathers at the same time.

Often this will take place in only 2-3 months, allowing her to return to full production sooner. Some super layers will actually lay well into their molt, although the frequency of eggs will significantly diminish. For the same reason a poor layer has a well-groomed appearance, a good layer will have a more tattered look, due to the use of protein. She is using that protein to make eggs, not pretty feathers.

The order of feather loss is the same for both a slow and a quick moult.

The loss will begin on the face and head, followed by the neck, breast, body, wings and tail. A good layer may continue to produce as her feathers drop from her head and face but by the time she is shedding her wing feathers, egg production will most certainly have ceased.

If you see balding spots on your hens head and back only, and you have a rooster, this is not a moult. While mating, the rooster holds her head feathers with his beak and puts his feet upon her back. If your hen is only showing balding in these spots, the rooster is getting too aggressive with her; you may need to separate them to give her a chance to recover.

Because good layers shed their feathers so quickly during a moult, they may likely have some bald spots. Watch closely to make sure the others in the flock are not pecking at her. If they draw blood, a separation would again be in order. Chickens get very excited over blood and will continue to peck at the poor wounded individual until she bleeds to death.

Also try to keep stray feathers picked up. Remember that feathers are made up mostly of protein. When chickens are experiencing a protein deficiency, they will pluck feathers from each other, or themselves, to eat. Its an important indicator to you that they are experiencing the deficiency so you can takes steps to correct the problem. If you leave feathers lying around, they will eat them and may then pluck feathers because they enjoy this new addition to their diet. You will have lost an important indicator of a problem because they have developed a bad habit.

Moulting is a stressful and tiring process.

Your hen might be quiet, not very active and seem almost shy or embarrassed by the process. Dont be alarmed; give her time to come through it. There are some things you can do to help the process along though; add extra protein, high in amino acids, to her diet. This will make it easier to grow the new feathers. Feeds high in oils will help the new feathers coming in as well. Using artificial light to extend daylight hours to 14 or so will also help as it is the daylight hours that slow production and induce the molt, not the cooler autumn weather.

Moulting is a natural process. However, sometimes we can inadvertently bring on a moult early. Stress, fatigue and poor management can cause an early moult so take good care of your flock but know that sometimes it cant be avoided.

Give your hen good nutrition and good light and shell come through it just fine.


Great info! Thanks!!!!!!

1 Golden Laced Wyandotte, 2 EEs, 1 Partridge Rock, 1 Australorp, 1 Speckled Sussex and soon to hatch Blue Marans and Olive Egger plus the resident Malamute and 4 house cats
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1 Golden Laced Wyandotte, 2 EEs, 1 Partridge Rock, 1 Australorp, 1 Speckled Sussex and soon to hatch Blue Marans and Olive Egger plus the resident Malamute and 4 house cats
Reply
post #6 of 8

A couple of my EEs have been molting for 4 months now!!!

Had a Coyote raid and killed all my birds. He gets my chickens we get his head.
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Had a Coyote raid and killed all my birds. He gets my chickens we get his head.
Reply
post #7 of 8

Thanks TamVan.  That answer all of my questions and then some.  Great info!

post #8 of 8

Wow!  Great Info!  I didn't even know chickens molted.. th ..Now if (or when) they lose feathers I won't freak out....thank you!!!

Proud mamma to 3 wonderful kids, 2 girls 13 yrs and 2 yr and one son 10 yrs., married to one perfect man for 13 years.  Proud owner of one Buff Orpington Rooster (Bob)-RIP, 2 Buff Orpington Hens (Ginger and Christan)-RIP, 2 RIR (Rose and Daisy)-RIP --New proud mamma of 3 Black Sex Links- 3 RIR-1 Ideal236-and 2 turkeys
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Proud mamma to 3 wonderful kids, 2 girls 13 yrs and 2 yr and one son 10 yrs., married to one perfect man for 13 years.  Proud owner of one Buff Orpington Rooster (Bob)-RIP, 2 Buff Orpington Hens (Ginger and Christan)-RIP, 2 RIR (Rose and Daisy)-RIP --New proud mamma of 3 Black Sex Links- 3 RIR-1 Ideal236-and 2 turkeys
Reply
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