A few moulting questions regarding Easter Egg chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Handygirl, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. Handygirl

    Handygirl New Egg

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    Sep 15, 2008
    Forgive what's surely a repeat, but I couldn't track down this information in general web searches or here. I have two Easter Egg chickens that I think are at least 15 months old (just got them in May from someone who we think had them about a year). They've been laying like champs until five days ago when the egg well inexplicably ran dry in both of them and they started to get a little skittish but didn't seem sick at all. We tried everything we could think of but nothing. Today, there were small feathers all over the place. Aha, moulting! Given their age and that it's September (although still hot as blazes here in the central Gulf Coast of Florida), it makes perfect sense; we just didn't have a clue until we saw the feathers.

    So, my questions. Given that these are Easter Egg chickens more than one year old and I suspect this is their first moult, can anyone give me an idea what to expect? How "bad" will it get? How long should this last? About how long of a break from egg-laying should we expect? What extra "normal" food might we feed them to help them out, since we don't have good access to medicated feeds? How long does it take for the feathers to come back? I'm not worried about them freezing where we live, obviously, but judging from some of the pictures on this site . . . eewwwww! [​IMG]

    Thank you so much in advance for your help! We're, er, winging it here and any specific information would be much appreciated!
     
  2. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

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    If they are going through a heavy molt they will lose alot of feathers quickly. This will leave bare peaches soon to be covered with pin feathers.

    If a slow molt they will gradually loss some feathers and replace them over a much longer period.

    It can take 6-12+ weeks to go through a molt. All depends on how heavy of a molt it is.

    During a heavy molt you can expect no eggs for the most part. During a lighter molt a really good layer may give an egg every few days.

    If you want extra nice shiny feathers, mix in some black oil sunflower seeds with their feed or just toss some to them as a treat. Oats(whole, krimped, or rolled) will help them produce stronger feathers. If feeding oats make sure they have a good source of grit.

    Matt
     
  3. Handygirl

    Handygirl New Egg

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    Sep 15, 2008
    Thanks, I'll do that with their food. I've since found a few posts that also recommended dog food or cat food for increased protein, but that seems like very strange idea.
     
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    The occassional can of wet cat food will help with the added protein needs. Feather grow takes good nutrition. Most feeds now do not have any animal proteins in them and unless you have a large space for free ranging they don't always get enough bugs and such to compensate for the extra needs. Vegetarian proteins do not give a complete long chain amino acid. That is only accomplished with animal protein in the diet. Chickens are omnivores and need the plant and animal proteins to function best.
     
  5. Handygirl

    Handygirl New Egg

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    Sep 15, 2008
    It's 4:20 a.m., and about an hour ago we discovered one of the hidden benefits of moulting. For the first time since May, a raccoon got into the coop and tried to kill both of our sweet hens. When I ran out to find out what was happening, I saw the coon with a big mouthful of feathers trying to get one of the girls before he took off. We finally tracked down the other hen and she was still alive, hiding by hunkering down next to a fencepost. There are piles of feathers everywhere in the yard. It looks like every time the coon tried to grab or bite them, all he got was a big pile of moulting feathers that just pulled right out!

    Our larger hen looks to be in a bit of shock. Couldn't find any injuries on her, but I'm not sure if she will be okay. Here's hoping she toughs it out like the bossy, dominant redhead broad that she is. Tomorrow--run rebuilding day. Sigh.
     
  6. je

    je Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 23, 2008
    Bend, OR
    It can take 6-12+ weeks to go through a molt. All depends on how heavy of a molt it is.

    Just the info I was looking for.

    Thanks​
     

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