At what age and season does moulting (molting??) usually begin?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AuburnChickenNewbies, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. AuburnChickenNewbies

    AuburnChickenNewbies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure whether one of my EE's is moulting or not. Yesterday I noticed that she has a prickly bare spot on the underside of her neck and this black-ish, oily, sticky goo on her underside. I can't find anything in the yard (where they were let out yesterday for a treat), in their pen or in the coop that would cause this icky stuff ... and then there's this bare spot on her neck. I just peeked out there a bit ago and she's out in the pen with the rest of the flock preening herself like mad and otherwise seems to be perfectly healthy.

    Is this moulting?
     
  2. duckinnut

    duckinnut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How old is she? Generally but not as a rule most pullets will molt 3 times but you will just notice a few feathers here and there. Hens will on average have their first adult molt between 14 and 18 months,some will go thru easy molt that takes forever it seems and some go thru hard molt in which they almost look naked and some might not even molt. Stress can also cause a molt.
     
  3. bettychicken

    bettychicken New Egg

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    My Blackrock is about 12 months old and has a bald chest & undercarriage inc. thighs. She's regularly dusted for mites & there are no sore, red patches - but I'm still wondering if this is actually a molt or if there's something else going on - how can you tell?
    My other 2 the same age aren't molting.
    I've ordered some chicken jumpers to keep her warm & they have a Snugglesafe each anyway.
     
  4. poseygrace

    poseygrace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    bettychicken, that sounds like a hard molt to me. They will be fine, it's natural!
     
  5. AuburnChickenNewbies

    AuburnChickenNewbies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2011
    Oh shoot, I just realized that I never got notification that there were any answers to my question about moulting ... I feel bad that I never responded after asking the question!

    But now I'm wondering if there's something else going on here. Out of 7 chickens, we have about 5 of them that are losing feathers right around their necks ... mostly on the underside. One of my black astrolorps is getting pretty bare on the underside, but missing feathers on the top side of her neck too. The EE is looking a bit ragged here and there with feathers kind of fluffed up, but the others also have some very bare spots here and there too. Nothing seems to be red anywhere on any of them.

    We have a sand base inside the coop and the coop is really kept about as clean as we can. It's spacious ... and they have a BIG run areas, although it's pretty bare now that they've demolished all of the grass/weed growth out there.

    About a week ago I dusted the birds with diatomaceous earth and raked it into the sand. Changed out the straw in the nesting boxes and added DE there as well. I've never seen any sign of lice in the coop or on the birds. There's a heat lamp/red on most nights and we're still getting an average of 5 eggs a day - -sometimes 7, sometimes 4. Everyone seems happy and healthy out there. Oh, and these guys were born last April, so they're not all that old. From what I've read, they're a little young to be moulting?

    I just did some research about bare necks and some of the answers had to do with feather eating?

    Or could this be related to diet? They're on a Purina pellet, the get a few handfuls of scratch in the mornings .. and kitchen scraps, fresh grass, etc. most days.

    Any ideas?
     
  6. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here are two of my girls, during a short molt...they are 37 weeks old....at first I thought they were being pecked at,
    they look terrible...but I see the feathers coming back in.

    Sorry I can't offer much more advice, this is my first year to molting..my 2nd with chickens total...
    their diet shouldn't have anything to do with it...I hope someone can give more guidance if it isn't molting...
     
  7. pigcoon

    pigcoon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To me that looks like moulting because you can see the new feathers coming in on their shaft.
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    In the fall/winter time, if there are no mites in evidence, I'd always assume molting is the culprit. Mine started in early November through mid December, and my last girl to molt is till very scraggly looking. Two had a very hard/fast molt (looked as if a dog had gotten hold them), while the rest just looked a little scruffy. Of my girls hatched in 2011, one appears to not have molted this first year, while the other two did. As others have pointed out, watch them...within 2 weeks or so you should start to see quills poking through in different spots. My girls don't like to be touched or held when they're molting - I think it's painful for them (with all those porcupine looking quills trying to work through the skin). [​IMG]
     
  9. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I know this is molting....the OP was wondering about it, so I posted pics with my girls...we need to see pics of hers to determine if that is what it is with her girls.
     
  10. AuburnChickenNewbies

    AuburnChickenNewbies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmm, looks like I'd better try to get some pics of the girls tomorrow. I don't know if I can figure out how to hold them and take pictures at the same time, but I'm game to give it a try ... if it's not raining too too hard tomorrow. Nothin' like wet birds!
     

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