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Why do my chickens never molt?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

In 11 years of raising chickens, we've never had one look like it was molting.  Why?

Is it because we have such mild winters here?

What triggers a molt?

post #2 of 13

My experience with my chickens has been this- my Wyandottes have all gone through a hard molt this year and looked terrible, whereas my Giants have molted but only looked slightly bedraggled without the extensive, rapid and radical feather loss of the former.  If it weren't for the Wyandottes I may not have even noticed that the Giants were molting.  The chicken that molted first was under a good amount of stress from being broody all spring and summer and she shed out about 6 weeks before the rest of the flock although they are all the same age (2 y.o.).  I live in an area where there are harsh winters.  I, too, am curious about molting.  Part of it is age-related I know, but what triggers a hard molt?  And why do some birds never seem to go through a hard molt and instead go through mini-molts a couple times a year?  Any experts out there?

post #3 of 13

I wonder this, too. I have three Black Australorps all the same age. One is currently going through a very hard molt and the other two have hardly lost any feathers! Beats me!

Wife and a mommy to: two precious boys, three dogs (a mutt and two Great Pryenees), a cat, Guinea fowl, a variety of chickens, goats, and a sweet pot bellied pig.  <><   

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE EGGS!
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Wife and a mommy to: two precious boys, three dogs (a mutt and two Great Pryenees), a cat, Guinea fowl, a variety of chickens, goats, and a sweet pot bellied pig.  <><   

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE EGGS!
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post #4 of 13

Only going by what I've read...but I think some can molt so gradually that it's hardly noticeable at all...

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #5 of 13

Yeah, that's my chickens too! There are feathers everywhere in the run, but I have to examine the feathers closely to figure out where they are coming from. That, and the fact some are not laying a bit, they must be molting, but they sure don't look it. idunno

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

So do chickens need to reach a certain age to molt? 

Does their birthday trigger the molt, or the season?

Or do chickens molt when and if they darn well feel like it?

post #7 of 13

Chickens will go through a kind of continual molt as they mature, losing a few feathers at a time and growing bigger ones.

Once they reach maturity they molt about once a year. It's severity depends on genetics. Some high production breeds are geared toward a more severe molt. In a commercial setting the molt is also helped along by human intervention, restricting food and light for several days.

I'm not sure exactly what triggers it, I'd guess the changing of the seasons. I know it's not a calendar thing because my girls molt at different times each year. I wonder about chickens living around the equator, I'm sure they molt, but how do they tell when? idunno

I really don't think they have any control over when they molt, like laying it has to be regulated by hormones and such.

"I'm a lyrical gangster. I'll use some colorful vernacular and if necessary will engage in fisticuffs."
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"I'm a lyrical gangster. I'll use some colorful vernacular and if necessary will engage in fisticuffs."
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post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hey, Ella, you hit a 1000 posts!

And your avatar made me imagine your words coming from the chicken.  I don't know, it's probably just me. hu

post #9 of 13

Lol, yeah, I guess I should post more, I've been on this board since it started and the last two BYC's too! lol

BTW the picture is Ella, and she is very wise. wink

"I'm a lyrical gangster. I'll use some colorful vernacular and if necessary will engage in fisticuffs."
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"I'm a lyrical gangster. I'll use some colorful vernacular and if necessary will engage in fisticuffs."
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post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Well, Ella knows a lot about molting.  Maybe she has had a little experience with it.  Or maybe her pet human has told her about it.

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