Another Moulting Question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Malpower, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. Malpower

    Malpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Kentfield, California
    Sorry, I'm still a rather nervous newbie with each new thing that comes up!

    My 4 girls are 11-12 months and at least one of them has started to moult -- I just realized her tail feathers are gone and she's looking a bit sad, has stopped laying this past week, and goes in to roost before dark and before the other 3 girls, and is often still up on the roost in the morning when the others are screeching "let us out of here," pacing and rattling the outer cage door! The other three continue to lay almost every day and are just loosing a bit of fluff, at least for the moment. So, is there anything special I should be doing for them? I've started adding a handful of small dried cat food every other day to their feed but that's the only difference. It's still pretty hot here (100+ yesterday) and probably won't get cold until end of October. Should I be feeding them differently than normal (laying crumbles, scratch and rooster mix etc, lots of greens, blueberries, tomatoes and so on) or just keep on as always. Just how naked do they get -- I haven't found any pictures of a heavily moulting hen anywhere -- does anyone have one? At the moment we have about 50/50 daylight and dark -- no lights inside the small coop. I assume I just go with the flow and let nature take its course, right? [​IMG]
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=240177

    I've
    got some pics on there of a heavy moulter.

    Up the protein a bit (as you are with the cat food) or just nix the scratch to help feathers grow back. Black oil sunflower seeds help with the methionine for feather growth too, but other than that, let them be and they'll be fluffy again.
     
  3. Malpower

    Malpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Kentfield, California
    Thanks for the photo link -- poor little motley thing! [​IMG] My girl seems to be headed in that direction but not quite as bad yet! Do they actually ever get bald patches, down to the skin? Or just look scruffy and loose the big feathers?

    One more question -- what does the hen scratch have in it that's not good to throw out when hens are moulting? Is it the corn? There's corn in a lot of different things I give them -- should I cut them out for now? I give them sunflower chips on a regular basis every few days but not sure about the "black oil" kind -- I'll check the feed store next visit.

    Thanks, Silkiechicken!
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Corn isn't bad per se, but since it is lower protein, it doesn't exactly help feather growth in that respect. It's more of a treat; at this time, I'd try to use treats higher in protein in general.

    As for bald patches, most will have pin feathers sticking out before they go bald, but keep an eye out for picking, as a broken pin feather has blood which draws more picking.
     
  5. Malpower

    Malpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Kentfield, California
    OK! Laying crumbles with extra shell is their main food along with high energy mini laying pellets, and I see that they're 16% protein while the sunflower chips are 19% protein -- the rest are far lower protein, so now I've got it! I'll cut back on the other treats because of course they like them better than the laying food! [​IMG]

    Will keep an eye out for any picking - thanks for the warning!
     
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    I feed my birds higher protein feed when they molt. If I can't find higher protein Layer then I have used Game Bird feed which is usually 20% proiein. My birds have done well on it.
     
  7. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    It also helps during moult to offer the flock wild bird suet or a poultry flock block. The fats keep the birds warm as they transition and also lubricate the skin and all membranes, such as the egg chute. Mine are finishing a slow loult and I believe the suet was very helpful. Egg production nearly back to normal. [​IMG]
     
  8. Malpower

    Malpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Kentfield, California
    Thanks for the additional feeding tips -- I'll look for the feed you all have mentioned.

    Another question -- am I imagining things or do the rest of the flock pick on the one who's molting? It appears they're trying to block her from the feed containers, and she and her sister have been doing that "sparring" with each other which they haven't done since they were 3 or 4 months old (they're just about a year now) -- would this all have to do with the molting one feeling "down and out" (she sure appears to me to be feeling punky)? [​IMG]
     

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