Does molting affect temperment/behavior?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Carrie Lynn, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. Carrie Lynn

    Carrie Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My BA is having her first adult molt.
    She seems to be acting differently - more withdrawn, hates to be handled (although she never likes to be picked up), not as actively bossy.
    I think she is eating less too, but that's hard to tell as I'm at work all day. Also, she doesn't beg for foods quite as vigorously (except for dried mealworms, that is).

    Thanks in advance [​IMG]
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    I've read several descriptions here of hens who seem to have a hard time with a molt, particularly with a hard one. They sometimes seem just very uncomfortable, and hens that usually like to be handled or even are "lap chickens" may get irritable and not want to be touched.
     
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    They are irritable during their molt. It can't be comfortable having all those pins stick out of you. All my hens get grouchy when they molt. And it goes back to normal when they are done.

    Keep up with the mealworms and other high protein treats, it helps them through the molt quicker as feathers are mostly protein.
     
  4. Carrie Lynn

    Carrie Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That would explain why she put up such a fight when I picked her up to check her crop yesterday. The screeching was really something else! Do they become less active too? I would assume so. She seems to be eating somewhat less too...poor thing. Her neck is a bed of sheathed quills, looks like a porcupine. Doesn't help that it's so cold and windy here. [​IMG]
     
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, they are less active too.
     
  6. Magic Birdie

    Magic Birdie Overrun With Chickens

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    they would be mostly pretty annoyed. [​IMG]
     
  7. mrsbos

    mrsbos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OMG Yes! My 3 EEs are going through their first molt and it's awful. They don't look as bad as some of the "hard molt" pictures I"ve seen on BYC, but they definitely do have some rough patches where they look prickly from new feathers sprouting.

    But it's the change in their behavior that's the most startling. They aren't eating their layer crumbles (though they'll scarf down a million mealworms if I'd feed them that many), they HATE being handled at all--like it's painful to them, and they're just overall very irritable and agitated. Definitely quieter than usual, since there is no egg song from no egg laying.

    I feel horrible for them since it's already starting to get colder. What a horrible time of year to molt! Wouldn't it make more sense for chickens to do it in the summer? I can't wait to get my fun loving, LAYING hens back. After almost 3 weeks with no eggs, I'm having 2nd thoughts about letting them have the winter "off". Time to turn on the extra light. I had to buy grocery store eggs the other day for the first time since February........Ewwwwwwww!
     
  8. Time-Out

    Time-Out Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My splash marans is going through her first full moult. She keeps leaping and flapping at the poor bcm pullet lol. It's like PMS in chickens [​IMG]
     
  9. Animalian

    Animalian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2011
    Australia
    haven't noticed with my hens but my cockatiel gets real grumpy, he begs for a scratch and then squeals and bites me because I've knocked some sensitive in feather!
     
  10. sheaviance1

    sheaviance1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2010
    Tennessee
    I wonder about the meal worm thing. I've heard that they need more protein when molting. If they are eating meal worms and laying off of their normal feed it makes me wonder if we shouldn't be supplementing with extra protein in their diet. Hmm...off to research.
     

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