Do chickens molt this late in the year?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mrtoadpope, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. mrtoadpope

    mrtoadpope New Egg

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    I have 9 chickens and 4 of the 9 are losing feathers they are 18 months old. If they are not molting what could it be? The coup is clean and they are able to free range during the day. They have several places for dust bathing, access to fresh water and food. They've stopped laying and look dreadful, what do I do?
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    It's a little late for molting but still within season, especially if they've ceased laying. Actually, according to some pretty old poultry wisdom, the later in the season a hen molts, the better of a layer she is through the rest of the year. I don't have any "real" scientific data to prove it, but I've so far found it true with my own flock!
     
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, I've had birds molt right through the worst of winter. They snuggle up to a warm buddy.
     
  4. mrtoadpope

    mrtoadpope New Egg

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    When the molt will they pull out tail feathers too? My girls just look terrible and it worries me that something other than molting is going on. They are my first batch of chickens so I'm new to this.
     
  5. BeachMomma

    BeachMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it looks like a feather pillow exploded in there and they've stopped laying, it's molt. They'll need higher proteins during this time too so they wont start pecking at each others feathers to get the extra protein. Flock raiser feed is great, don't be alarmed if they eat less of flock raiser than they do layer feed if that's the way you go. Tuna, black sunflower seeds and a little dry cat food I've heard are good sources.

    Edit
    You have double checked them for mites and lice?
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2015
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Mine have been molting for 2 months, and a few are yet to start. Since they do it at 16-18 months, and then every 12 months thereafter, it depends when they are hatched. Since most of the hatcheries supply chicks in the spring, most chickens will molt in the autumn in the northern hemisphere. One of my spring banties who goes broody every other month, sat on some eggs and hatched them in late January. She promptly started a molt in Feb, the worst month here for that. Broodiness, or any another big stress can throw them into a molt at an off time.
     
  7. mrtoadpope

    mrtoadpope New Egg

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    Should I do something extra to help keep them warm during the winter since they don't have as much protection with 1/2 their feathers gone? Heat lamp or something?
     
  8. BeachMomma

    BeachMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nope they won't need a heat lamp, they'll snuggle together :)
     
  9. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    x2
     
  10. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yep, my 4 Golden Laced Wyandottes do a heavy molt this time of year. One has been basically naked for the past 2 weeks and is now covered with pin feathers and fluff. The other three just started molting within the past week and have lost their tail, neck, and wing feathers and are looking a little pathetic. My coop still has the "exploded pillow" look every morning, I'm ready for that to end as the feathers are a pain to clean up out of the shavings on the floor!

    Last year was the first year I had a few that had bare skin exposed well into our New England winter, but they truly were all fine. They have a solid coop but I've never used any supplemental heat. I did feel sorry for them and often gave them a warm mash (a little hot water poured over layer pellets, rolled oats, and black oil sunflower seeds) right before bed. It made me feel better and they seem to enjoy it. Not sure it really made any difference to their actual warmth though.

    Can you post a picture of how they look if you're worried it's not just molting? I bet some of the more experienced people here can help you by seeing what state they're in.
     

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