Chicken molting question

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

  1. Sylverfly

    Sylverfly Songster

    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 Crowing

    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:

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