30 weeks old and already molting?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by feathersnuggles, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    Is it possible for my 30 week old pullet to molt, already?

    I'm asking about my Cuckoo Marans (possibly crossed with Barred Rock). She started laying in mid-Sept. and stopped laying over a week ago. She's been really healthy all along; her feathers are glossy, she's strong and active, eats very well, and was a good egg-layer until now. I've been puzzled about why the egg-laying suddenly stopped, so today I grabbed her while they were free-ranging, to look at her, close up. As I did that, about 20 feathers from her back drifted onto the ground. It was weird, like a pillow with a hole. Running my hand over her back, more feathers drifted out.

    The other layers, same age, are still laying. We've had LOTS of rain, and dark, windy days in the last month. These days, besides layer feed and free-choice oyster shell, I've been giving the entire flock extra protein - in the form of fish, especially salmon.

    I'm just wondering about why she would molt this early - if this really is a molt. Any experience out there, with the same thing?
     
  2. hen-thusiast

    hen-thusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    Utah
    We are. Our now 34 week old is going through it. Took us two weeks to figure out what was going on. Didn't help that she started molting from the wrong end either. Ours is very runty (2.4 pounds instead of 4-5 typical of breed) and we think extreme temp swings and stress triggered it. And at the rate she's molting she should finish up in July. [​IMG]

    Evidently it is common in bad layers. None of our others are molting.
     
  3. We have some hens about that age that are molting also.

    Matthew
     
  4. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    Quote:What do you mean by bad layers? Mine was a good layer, until now.
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    They go through a sort of mini-molt at about 9 months old. Most of mine are noticed when I see the area on their necks under the ears looking bare at that time. The BIG molt is at 18-20 months. That one can be a real doozy. If they quit laying, the feathers come in faster. If they keep laying, they can be bare for months, poor girls. Protein needs are very high during the molt and it's very taxing to keep laying and try to grow feathers at the same time.
     
  6. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    Thanks, SpeckledHen, I did not know about the mini-molt at 9 months. I was expecting their molt to be at one year or so, but this early suprised me. My bird is 7-1/2 months old and she's the only one of the flock that's molting right now. I haven't added artificial light. It's pretty dark here this time of year; the birds put themselves on the roost at 4pm. I've been amazed to still see eggs from the rest of the bunch, even though they've slowed down a little.

    So how much protein should they get during a molt, btw?
     
  7. hen-thusiast

    hen-thusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    Utah
    Quote:What do you mean by bad layers? Mine was a good layer, until now.

    It's just what I've read. That bad layers molt early and take longer during their molt. Ours wasn't the greatest layer and her molt seems to be taking forever. She just has underlying issues or something. Sounds like yours is different than ours.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  8. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,901
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    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    ALL of my young pullets seem to be molting right now! Perhaps it is some rainy PNW thing? The two older hens are going through major molts, so NONE of them are laying, squatting or nesting or anything. There are cobwebs in the nestbox. I've thought about adding some light, but I'm going to wait until molting is done--which seems to me to be next spring at this rate! I'm going to start molting myself here if things don't change soon...
     
  9. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    Quote:Good to know my molting pullet has company! I feel better knowing that it's pretty normal.
     

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