8 mo. old hens molting?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LoveOfChickens1, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. LoveOfChickens1

    LoveOfChickens1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens are young, only 8 mo. old and 2 of them are showing signs of molting. 1 of them is the lowest pecking order hen and she is starting to get bullied (more so). This is my 1st flock and I'm wondering, is it normal to go through their 1st molt at 8 mos? Is it normal for 1 to be picked on when molting? Plus, we're in Michigan so the weather has been quite cold, especially at night. Is it normal to molt when temps are so low? Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

    P.S. I've looked at pictures of molting and they look just like the pictures. Tiny pin feathers poking through with LOTS of loose feathers in the coop.
     
  2. Bloveschickens

    Bloveschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I seem to be having exactly the same problem! One of my 8 month old hens is molting right now. She is also at the bottom of the pecking order and is the most bullied. I have read that chickens usually start their first annual molt when they are 16-18 months old so I do not know why she would be molting right now. Although it is normal for chickens to molt in the fall or winter so at least our girls have the right season. My hen is definitely molting but it is very slight and she isn't losing a lot of feathers so I think she will be okay. I may start bringing her in at night when it becomes really cold because she doesn't seem to tolerate heat as well. Also, it may be helpful if you post a picture of your hens.

    This is a really great article on molting: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2011/12/molting-what-is-it-and-how-to-manage-it.html

    I hope I helped! I will definitely be watching this thread to see what others say.
     
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  3. Sustained

    Sustained Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've read that it's not uncommon for young hens to go through a 'light' molt their first winter. And it seems that my girls are doing just that. They're about 9 months old, give or take, and started molting about 2 weeks ago. It's not as bad as some pics I've seen but they're looking pretty scraggly and there's feathers everywhere outside. I started giving them some scrambled eggs every few days in their feed bucket in addition to sprouts, cracked corn, table scraps, and BOSS. Just as kind of an added boost.
     
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  4. Sustained

    Sustained Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also have a huge case of wet dog food from our lab that I had to put down that I add a bit of in their bowl too. I forgot about that. And of course mealworms :)
     
  5. Bloveschickens

    Bloveschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank You for that information! I do feel a lot better now that I know that this is normal. [​IMG] I am also feeding my girls some high protein treats such as cracked corn, "molt muffins" and of course, meal worms, lol.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014
  6. Sustained

    Sustained Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like you're doing great then! [​IMG] I was a little shocked at first too so you're definitely not alone. I was expecting it next year lol just like a chicken to keep us guessing and confused [​IMG]
     
  7. LoveOfChickens1

    LoveOfChickens1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The weather was more pleasant today so I was able to do some clean up in the coop today. I put down a new layer of bedding. By the time I got back out there tonight to close up the coop for the night, there were more feathers everywhere. Once they were quiet and roosting I was able to take a quick peek at them. My one Easter egger, Betsy, is worse than Copper, my black sex link. Poor Betsy even had a little dried blood on one of the newly emerged feathers. I was able to wipe it and apply some neosporin. I'm going to keep a close eye on her tomorrow to see if they're picking on her or not. Usually it's our alpha hen that's doing the bullying. I may have to separate the bully for a couple of days if she won't stop picking on her.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Cracked corn is not high protein....not sure what 'molt muffins' are...but be careful not to dilute the nutrition of a balanced feed with too many other foods or 'treats'.

    Pin feathers are full of blood, if they get pecked they can bleed profusely and may need to be plucked out if they don't stop bleeding (had one on a young cockerel this spring).

    Blukote spray can sometimes help camouflage the blood from pin feathers if they are getting picked on my the other birds.
     
  9. Bloveschickens

    Bloveschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Molt muffins are a muffin you can make for chickens when they are molting. They contain oats, flour, apple sauce, banana, BOSS, eggs and a touch of cinnamon. I feed them very sparingly usually only half a muffin once a week, and I only do a sprinkling of cracked corn in there run in the morning so they have something to peck at during the day.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2014

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