Do Chickens ever molt in the first year?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by vweers, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. vweers

    vweers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have several chickens who have lost feathers around the head and neck area. At first I thought it was one was being a bully but not blood or sores. We were out of town and I came back to another chicken looking pretty pathetic feather wise. We are going into a cold week so I just wanted to make sure of what it might be. Otherwise they act and look heathy and normal.
     
  2. Boom Boom Chick

    Boom Boom Chick Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 6, 2015
    Hi There,

    Yes chickens molt in there first year. They will stop laying eggs during their molting season and you can feed them dry cat food crushed up into crumbles to keep their protein up. Thats what I give my girls and some oyster shell. Some chickens will bleed when their feathers come in and that is normal. I have not had to experience this but my mother did with her Rhode Island Red hen one year and she bought bedadine to conceal the blood. Chickens and roosters are carnivorous animals and when they smell and/or taste blood from another they will peck them literally to death. So just keep an eye on your flock. I hope this helps.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Chickens normally don't molt until after there first year, usually around 18 months old.....
    ......but they can molt earlier, I had a 9 month old molt last December and I have read of others molting around then too.

    Another reason for feather loss is picking, where other birds bite off feathers and eat them, often caused by low protein and can also be caused by crowding stress.

    Feather loss can also be caused by mites.

    So.....How old are you birds?
    How many birds in what sized coop and run(feet by feet)?
     
  4. townhen

    townhen Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 17, 2015
    My hens are about months old now and they are molting like crazy. Every day I clean the feathers out of the coop, and the next day the floor of the coop is lined with new feathers. They're looking really scraggly, too, and have stopped laying several weeks back. Is a product like "feather fixer" appropriate for them right now? Is it just extra protein that they need right now?
     
  5. vweers

    vweers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2015
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    I have 6 chickens, they are all about 7 months old. We bought the coop from an old neighbor who always had 6 chickens so my husband estimates the top encloses section to be about 12 ft sq and same with the bottom but it is enclosed with wire so it isn't completely closed from all elements. The run is over 60 sq ft but we dont' have an exact but my husband knows his measurements and I told him how big it needed to be. They also get some time free ranging in our yard. I do see at least one occaasionally pecking at other. Maybe I will get a protein suppliment for them. They do like to eat feathers, always have though since they were little. We had put a light in their coop to see if we could extend more eggs this winter but we turned that off since it might be causing stress at this point. I have someone local coming over to check out the girls and give suggestions on the coop set up but that won't be until after Thanksgiving. So trying to see what I can figure out so maybe I can solve the feather issue before hand. We use DM in the coop every time we add bedding and at leasat a couple of times per month besides. Not sure what else to do for mites. Any other ideas for that.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  7. vweers

    vweers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They get 16% layer pellets at this point and scratch grains for food. Any scraps or foods that aren't spoiled but we won't get too in time. They have calium available already. have since there were younger and just start laying eggs but they don't really eat much. It is getting colder here. IT can be mild but it can also get cold here. Typically winters hover in the 40 to 30 range and nights obviously get colder. We can't safely put any electricity to the coop so any thing like that can't be done this year. We have a DC power ran to it to run the lights and temperature gauge my husband made for me to montior temperature and humidity. We are mostly a very dry climate though. Very close to desert but we get all four seasons. We can work on getting the protein up but I just bought their feed and barely opened it and it is the 16% so I will just have to add protein for now. Not much I can do about the coop - Our neighboor never had problems with their chickens even if space is tight as you say, it is too late in the season and the coopp doesn't lend it self for altering and not sure we can make a new one at this point. So if we need to alter what we have it will have to wait until spring. Unless it gets vital we make it bigger. My husband doesnt have the time right now to do it. We could possibly make a bigger run or add more chunnel space we already have. I guess I could also just rehome two of the chickens but that would devisatate my boys. lol We will do what we need.

    So I hear increase protein, any other suggestions that I can do to make it into the spring before we make any coop changes if we can. My hubby won't be too happy if we have to completely change this one out. Makes me mad for not thinking it through in the first place. Waste of money . . . oh well, you life and you learn.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I like to try one thing at time to see if it solves a problem that you can't quite pinpoint......so just upping protein would a great thing to try first.

    Lots of folks start with too small a coop, it's easy to do.
    Bright side is that smaller coop can come in handy when growing out new chicks to add to flock or needing to isolate a bird for some reason.
     
  9. vweers

    vweers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So how long do you think it will take to notice the difference if it was a protein problem?
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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