Do I need to let my hens molt?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Micapeeps, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. Micapeeps

    Micapeeps New Egg

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    Sep 18, 2011
    A newbie here. We have a rooster, 6 18-month-old hens and 4 6-month-old hens that have been integrated and are using one coop. Last year we used a timer to keep egg production through the winter, but now one of the hens looks a little bedraggled on her back and the back of her head (not from starting a molt, but from the attentions of our rooster playing favorites). I'm concerned that if we use the timer again this fall, our 18-month hens will still not molt, and little Rhoda won't have enough insulation for the winter (northern Idaho only gets down to 10 below occasionally, but that's cold enough for me). If we do not use a timer though, won't the 6 month olds molt as well and not produce eggs until spring? Thanks for any insight and suggestions!
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Personally, I'm a big fan of doing things as naturally as possible. Therefore I don't add light and they can molt whenever their little bodies tell them its necessary. I don't know if light will prevent a molt so I wouldn't be concerned about that. But as molting is a normal and healthy part of a chicken's life, I certainly wouldn't do anything to try to prevent it.
     
  3. peepblessed

    peepblessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Our first year pullets usually lay all winter. Never used a light. Welcome to BYC and hope you get lots and lots of eggs! [​IMG]
     
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I don't think your 4-6month olds will molt this year. My understanding is that pullets won't molt the first year.
    That being said I have only once had 1 hen molt in 7+ years. I usually just have mini molts off & on.
    I've wondered if it has something to do with Seattles temperate climate.
    I've not heard that lighting influences it. Maybe you are on to something.

    Good luck,

    Imp
     
  5. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    personally I would separate the rooster from the hen he is over using...give her time to grow her feathers back, you obviously don't need a rooster for eggs, and she is being over bred.
    I am up to my first winter with my girls laying, I don't know if I will use a light or not, I believe I will go the natural way and allow them to either lay or not...he will breed her light or not, eggs or not...
     
  6. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:That's interesting Imp - same here! I've only ever had one hen I could say definitively was in molt. I wonder the reason?
     
  7. Dar

    Dar Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:That's interesting Imp - same here! I've only ever had one hen I could say definitively was in molt. I wonder the reason?

    X3 mine will loose a bit and then stop but they never go nekkid or anything.. my roosters loose their tail....in fact they are doing that right now
     
  8. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Four hens of mine have moulted to baldness on the body this year which has never happened before in these hens. We have had the coldest summer for 20 years, so maybe this is the cause. All wore (and are still wearing) poultry saddles for some weeks as the weather is very wet and quite cold right now. All are covered with new feathers, so will have proper insulation by the winter.

    The remainder of my hens have moulted to a much lesser extent and the pullets have not moulted at all (As Imp says, pullets don't normally moult).

    I don't think that artificial light will prevent the moult.
     

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