Chicken Molting times and care of them

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by atira, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. atira

    atira Out Of The Brooder

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    I got my adult hens in April of 2012, and waited for them to molt last year...nothing happened...Well, this past 2-3 weeks (end Sept/mid to end of Oct beg Nov 2013) my hens are loosing their feathers but aren't "naked chickens" yet. I know they won't lay when molting, but how long does molting last? Anything I need to do special for them as far as general care? Thanks for any help in getting me through my "girls' molting".
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    A full on molt usually lasts about three months, but partial ones can be shorter. Some people like to up the protein % in their diet a little at that time since they are using a lot of it to grow feathers and the theory is it shortens molt time. If you are planning on worming them, some people like to do it during molt since you don't have as many eggs to toss if you don't eat the eggs during the withdrawal time. Have you checked out the BYC molting contest pictures? Some are scary.
    Here are a couple of good links on molting.
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/217/moulting-a-natural-process
    http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/animal-industries/poultry/care-and-husbandry/moulting
     
  3. GardenState38

    GardenState38 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2011
    You mention a "partial molt". Could that be what I'm experiencing with a few of my hens? They began to molt in August, and after some weeks, it seemed like they were finished...but lately, they've started up again! I "think" the feathers molting now are in different areas than those previously molted, but there really isn't much of a rhyme or reason to the order of the sections molting. Everything I've read talks about the head and neck first, then the body, wings, etc. It just doesn't seem that clear-cut.
    One hen, my Cuckoo Marans, even started laying again between her two molting sessions. There is no problem with parasites, they're quite healthy, and the new feathers have grown in lovely and vibrant. I've been supplementing with protein, they have constant access to fresh water and food, and this year I'm not even supplementing light, as I had previously.
    I just want to know if this can be "normal" for some hens, or am I doing something wrong? I don't want to have them go through undue stress of molting more/longer than they need to. The temperatures have been a little crazy-up and down- but that wouldn't necessarily affect them, would it?
     
  4. atira

    atira Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 8, 2012
    southern Ohio
    What can I do with the feathers which are being "shed"? How can I recycle them? Any ideas people...hate to clean them up and throw them away...thanks
     
  5. Sandstorm495

    Sandstorm495 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  6. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    I agree with the partial molts seeming random sometimes. Some of mine do the text book start with the head and work their way back, others just seem to loose random patches here and there or just scattered feathers. The articles seem to indicate a lot of it is genetics and what they have been selected for with the commercial-type birds especially. Then you add in the million and one factors and stresses including lighting and temperature that can put a chicken into molt, and who knows what any given bird can decide to do. I pretty much do what you are doing, up the protein some and be sure they have plenty of food and water and try to keep them content. No supplemental lighting will slow down the molt, but that is not really a bad thing in that the faster they molt the harder they are actually working to grow feathers etc.
     

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