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9 Month Old Pullets - Molting?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BoyankaTheBuff, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. BoyankaTheBuff

    BoyankaTheBuff In the Brooder

    Oct 28, 2016
    Minneapolis, MN
    I have six hens and they are dealing with a couple of stress factors right now - it's recently gotten pretty cold up here (well below zero, some days high around zero, although it's been warmer some days) and they all moved into their new coop just over a month ago. Each bird has 10 square feet inside and they have plenty of unused roosting space (they all crowd together on the same roost.) The coop is dry and they are eating layer pellets, fresh water is available.

    While I was observing them yesterday I noticed that two of them are missing feathers around their neck, and they seem to have pin feathers growing in place of those (no exposed skin). I checked them for lice and didn't see any sign. Their vents and legs look good. These two aren't especially low on the pecking order (in fact one of them is the bossiest) and there is no bleeding or scabbing so I'm pretty sure they aren't having getting plucked by the other hens. Their poor featherless necks just look so awful and I'm worried now they'll get too cold.

    Everything I've read says hens don't molt until they are at least a year old. Could they be molting? Or is there something else happening?

  2. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    If you see pin feathers emerging from the feather loss areas, no worries. Yes, they likely are going through a juvenile molt. Winter cold is incidental, and may even encourage the rate of feather regrowth.
  3. aldarita

    aldarita Songster

    Aug 2, 2012
    Brenham TX
    I was also surprised when my eight and a half month pullets went thru a molt recently, actually they are still growing feathers right now. I am not worried about cold weather since we are in South Texas and it seems this is going to be a very mild winter for us.
    I have never had pullets molting before (just the regular juvenile light molts). I switched them to a 24% protein feed as soon as found feathers all over, this will speed up the feather growth.
  4. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chirping

    Mar 1, 2016
    Westminster, Maryland
    Yes young pullets can molt. I have a couple 10 month olds who are molting right now.
  5. CoopintheWoods

    CoopintheWoods Chirping

    Dec 27, 2016
    My 14 pullets are about 5 months old, will they molt this winter?
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yeah, I've got ten 9-10 month old pullets.....a couple are molting, a couple are laying-once in while, a couple never started laying yet.
    A few of the hens(almost 2yrs old) are back to laying after their molt....SMH.
    There are no completely accurate predictions('rules') with live animals.
    20 layers and only 2-5 eggs a day.
    This is my first winter without supplemental lighting, not sure if, what, or how much that is affecting what I am seeing.
  7. BoyankaTheBuff

    BoyankaTheBuff In the Brooder

    Oct 28, 2016
    Minneapolis, MN
    Out of my six pullets, two are molting. I know that three of them were laying before the cold got here, now down to just one laying. The other three have yet to lay an egg. I'm getting 2-3 eggs per week. No supplemental lighting here either.

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