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Can a molt really start to get bad this time of year?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Jeffross1968, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    I have a couple of chickens getting really naked on their backs. A couple of pictures are below. The barred rock started what appeared to be a molt on her tail early fall. Her tail feathers have not come back. The only newish fresh looking feathers are around her neck and head. The tail, which I thought was to recover first, hasn't. There are lots of feathers that look like they are thinning out really bad. The silver laced wyandotte has been losing feathers behind her tail for a couple months, and we can now see skin on her back. Both have continued laying throughout the winter. The BR's age is unknown. The SLW was hatched January 31 2011, and started laying in July last year.

    I have other birds that were hatched the same date as the SLW, that have a few feathers missing behind the wings. This all started before my roo became mature and began mating, so while some of the feather loss can be attributed to that, not all can. So I guess, what I'm wondering is if molting can happen in the spring, or be peaking this time of year, or is it too late for this? Is there a "season" for molting, or can it happen any time, depending on the bird? There do not appear to be any lice or mites...Here are some pics....

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  2. TajMahalChickens

    TajMahalChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 22, 2010
    My first guess would be the rooster, simply because of the location of the feather loss. My second guess would be lice or mites. Even if you think they don't have lice or mites, I would dust of spray anyway to be sure. It can't hurt. I doubt they would be molting this time of year, unless the lighting management system they have been under has changed and messed up their clockwork. If they are on low protein feed, other hens may be pecking and eating the feathers to make up for their protein deficiency. Or the other hens may be bored and reverted to pecking for entertainment, but since yours appear to be outside I doubt that is the case.

    If you are sure it isn't the roo, I would bet on parasites. I thought I didn't have parasites, but it turned out I even had them in my 12 week old meat birds. If the edges of the feathers seem to be cut off in places, and possibly brittle, it is probably due to parasites chewing.
     
  3. TajMahalChickens

    TajMahalChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 22, 2010
    In addition, molts are supposed to be orderly and timely, starting at the head and working backwards. If new feathers aren't readily or consistently replacing the old, It probably isn't a molt.

    However, your BR appears to have shiny, well colored, and full neck feathers, and the rest of her body is dull. This would make sense in the "working backwards" system of the molt, as it appears her neck feathers have already been replaced. On second thought, looks like the BR is molting. Go figure.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  4. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    So the BR looks like a definite molt. What's everyone think of the SLW?
     
  5. momof10

    momof10 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 10, 2011
    I have 8 hens of various breeds. I live in southwest Idaho....and I think my birds are going through a molt as well. They are free ranged, no parasites, one and two year old girls that had a regular molt last fall (when they were "supposed" to molt. Egg production was normal all winter. Now there are feathers all around their coop, in their coop, and in the yard where they range. Can hens molt twice a year?
     

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