Chicken molting question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sylverfly, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. Sylverfly

    Sylverfly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2009
    Northeastern Michigan
    So my hens are molting...they were sold to me as hens at point of lay but they were underweight and did start laying a few months after I got them, they are small and didn't grow any after I got them, just put on weight. I have 10 they were laying great for a while then 5-6 eggs only, then 3-4, then 1-2 eggs a day...for weeks now. I checked vents tonight and 3 are clearly not laying at all, 3-4 are iffy, and 3 are clearly laying well. These hens are not even a year old (according to their hatch date from the seller) they shouldn't be having a hard molt at under 1 year should they?

    I'm thinking about giving away the 3 not laying (with the disclosure of whats going on). But will the other 3-4 totally stop too? and the other 3 too? Are they not laying because of the molting? The other hens I've owned over the years never skipped a beat egg wise until the 3rd sometimes 4th year, as a group anyway, but I never had a hard molt either out of those hens.

    Have I just been winning the chicken lottery for years and finally got a loser? Should I cull the 3, the 6-7 or all of them? I don't like feeding 10 hens in their prime egg laying time and getting 2 eggs a day, it stinks! Is an early molt worthy of cleaning house, or completely stopping lay during molt?

    How long does a molt last.

    I live in Michigan so my other huge fear is its not the molt its the change in the temp/light here and I won't get an egg all winter? I have a small light on a timer in case but no increase in eggs yet. :(

    They don't have lice, worms, nutritional deficiency, or any clear illness. They are active and healthy looking some even look a little on the fat side.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It may be that their actual age was not what you were told, or it may be they simply went into a molt due to the stress of this change in their world. No, a chicken will not lay when molting, or at least it is very rare. Usually a molt lasts around 2 months but it can vary a lot.

    You might want to reconsider the light while they are in a molt. They are already stressed from the molt, and it won't help til it is over. Here is an article about molting:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chickens-loosing-feathers-managing-your-flocks-molt
     

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