Do you replace your hens when they start to molt?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chicken Paradise, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. Chicken Paradise

    Chicken Paradise Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 21, 2009
    Central Missouri
    I was wondering, since it takes 3-5 months to molt (so the web says)
    if your hens are not pets, do you keep them or eat them when this happens? Does their laying really slow down after they resume laying?
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Molts do not usually take that long. And most of my girls do continue to lay through at least part of the molt. I am not a commercial operation and I will keep them till they are too old to lay at all. A well cared for hen in great health can lay for years and years, though at a reduced rate.
    1 person likes this.
  3. glassparman

    glassparman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2008
    Mojave, CA
    My laying hens are for eggs and pets. I will not replace them just because of a molt.

    The molt will vary and could be fairly short if you add extra daylight (around 14 hours total) and some extra heat.

    Mine did about 30 days this year but still layed a few eggs here and there during the molt.

    I think a molt is actually good for them as they get better looking when the new feathers come in.

  4. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    No way. They have the first molt before they reach peak egg laying age. The eggs get bigger the 2nd year, they don't start to slow down until about 3-4 years old. I have 6 year old hens that still lay!

    Commercial operations do that because they buy point of lay hens, and replace as soon as they slow down for that first molt. They don't want to lose any production time. It's shame that the business is so competitive that the hens are treated pretty much like disposable machine parts.

    It's not practical for a home flock.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I agree with the other posts. All birds molt. It's just shedding old feathers and replacing them with new ones. Some molts can be heavier than others and they may still lay but at a reduced rate. Some do stop laying while they are molting. They generally molt around once a year.
  6. OrpObsessed

    OrpObsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2013
    East Texas
    At what age do the first start to molt?
  7. Sash Ranch

    Sash Ranch New Egg

    Nov 6, 2013
    I'm curious about age, too. I have two who are starting to lose feathers on their necks and the more I read, I think it may be molting. They are only 8 months old, though....seems too young?
  8. OrpObsessed

    OrpObsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2013
    East Texas

    Yeah the reason I am asking is that several of mine aren't molting yet and they're over a year old?
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop

    This is a really old thread.....try out the advanced search function here:
    advanced search>titles only>molting
    Lots of info here, best way to find it is advanced search.
  10. OrpObsessed

    OrpObsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2013
    East Texas
    Ok thanks!

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