10 Months Old and Molting?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sbhkma, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. sbhkma

    sbhkma Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have 5 hens and late summer was getting an average of 26 eggs a week. Granted, I got them mostly for bug control, but the eggs are a great bonus! Now, however, I'm getting about 12 per week and I notice there's a lot of feathers on the floor of the coop. Not so much that the girls look bare, but it's a carpet of feathers! I had thought they didn't molt their first year, but that sure is what it looks like. I've been keeping them in the coop for about a week to make sure they just weren't laying elsewhere, but yup.. production is about half of what I was getting. Should I start feeding them a high protein game bird feed to help with this? I'm in central TX so it doesn't get horribly cold except sometimes in late Jan - Feb no I'm not too worried about that. Just wanted to help them feather out quickly and healthily. They do not like cat food, so that protein source is out. We had a pretty chilly cold front come through last week and the bug population has dwindled. Best suggestions?
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, they can go through a minor molt at that age. I have a few pullets doing the same. They will not go bald, but they might look like they are missing their tails. Feeding higher protein will help, if you can.
     
  3. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like a molt to me. They do have a juvenile molt the first year. Rule out any parasite problem and then you are left with a molt. They should look a little raggy compared to their normal self. I went to a higher protein feed when my girls went threw it. A game bird feed is best, BOSS is great, and they don't need layer right now but do put out a bowl of oyster shell for those still laying and for those that return to laying. You are also getting a reduction in eggs for the lessened daylight hours and this will continue threw winter unless you give extra lighting.
     
  4. sbhkma

    sbhkma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the input, folks. I check the girls daily for parasites, crop issues, etc. They're good in those departments. Now if I can just find some 30% protein game bird feed I'll be happy! Local places don't carry it.
    And Happy Thanksgiving to those of us in the U.S.!
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    You can supplement with other things. Giving BOSS and perhaps wheat rather than scratch or corn will increase their protein intake. Give them all your meat and fish scraps. Canned mackerel is relatively inexpensive.
     
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    You don't have to specifically feed game bird feed. I use it because it's around locally and it's an easy way to get more protein in them.

    You can give them any meat scraps, mealworms are fantastic protein, BOSS. Fish is a good protein too, but if you are still getting some eggs from others, it can affect the flavor of the eggs.
     
  7. sbhkma

    sbhkma Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't use scratch at all. I use oats, boss and sunflower hearts. I'll add some wheat as well, never thought of that one. I'll see about giving them cat food in a mash-they may like that. I do give them meat scraps, but we don't eat a lot of meat. Mealworms are great, but they're really pricey. I'll call around today and see if I can find some 30% protein feed. Otherwise I can at least get them back on 24% chick starter and up the protein that way plus the additions. I've always offered oyster shell in a separate feeder for them, so that will always be available if they need it. Thank you all so much for the ideas/advice!
     
  8. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Meal worms are cheaper if you get them live at a pet store rather then dried at the feed store. The best part about live ones is that you can breed more (some on here do). Also, for grains such as wheat check to see if you have a feed mill in your area. At my feed mill a 50lb sack of feed or wheat are both $9, at my TSC a 50lb sack of feed is $20 and wheat is $50. If you can find a feed mill they are worth it.
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    24% is more than sufficient.
    Online pet stores like petco and petsmart sell live mealworms in 1, 5 and 10 thousand numbers and are affordable in quantity.
     
  10. Props4Chicks

    Props4Chicks Out Of The Brooder

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