feather loss...Can a chicken molt in December?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lttdoming, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. lttdoming

    lttdoming Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a few pullets that were hatched in April.

    So this will be their 1st winter. I noticed a few weeks ago one of my barred rocks was loosing feathers. I would find them under the roost. I looked her over and didn't see any signs of lice/mites.

    The loss appeared to start at her back and no, we do not have an aggressive rooster. You had to move her back feathers to see a small bald patch.

    These past two weeks she is loosing under her chin and on the back of her neck.
    I read that most chicken do not molt their 1st year. Doesn't molting usually occurs in September?

    Her comb is a little pale and she is not laying that often but it gets dark in Massachusetts at 4:30 and I
    do not supplement light.

    Should I be concerned?

    The other girls look good. I do use DE in the coop and sprinkle them all with permethrin.





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  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Molting usually does occur this time of year. I've had the odd hen start as early as September but most do it Oct/Nov. I suspect length of days has the most to do with initiating molt so as the days are shorter this time of year in the north than they are in the south, birds across the country, will molt at different times.

    It is not unheard of for a bird to molt the first year. Most don't but some do.
     
  3. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, molting can definitely happen in December; in fact, it can happen at any time of year. But it is most common in fall to early winter (August-January). Older birds that are at least a year of age typically go through a complete body molt, during which they look awful, but even younger birds may still partially molt as the days get shorter. It does vary, though, depending on the year and the bird. Last year, I had some seven month old birds that didn't molt until they were about a year of age, but this year, my young birds started molting much earlier.

    So my best guess is that your hen is molting, as the signs do fit. Paleness of the comb is common, and feathers are usually first lost under the chin, on the neck, and on/near the tail. She may not look her best, but in 1-3 months, she'll be done and as pretty as ever. [​IMG]
     
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  4. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    My birds almost always molt in the fall and winter (some start in September, others of mine start in January).
     
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  5. Crickett

    Crickett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My question is along the same lines, so I thought it may fit here. My chickens are still moulting, lots of feathers scattered, and I can see pin feathers on several of them, they haven't laid any eggs since October 1. How long should I expect this to last? I live in North Alabama. This is my first experience with moulting. Sorry if these are dumb questions.
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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  7. Crickett

    Crickett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! My chickies look just like her pictures! When will they start laying again? I know it'll be after they finish moulting, but I mean should I give them a week, a day, a month? They should be done moulting by January, I think.
     
  8. Crickett

    Crickett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great news! One of my black stars has started laying this week!
     
  9. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm glad to hear that. [​IMG]
     
  10. chickie63

    chickie63 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2010
    I am glad to hear that the molt can happen in the dead of winter. It has been an unbelievably cold winter here in wisconsin and I never remember my birds molting at this time. It looks kind of splotchy and I will treat them with some lice pwd tomorrow just to be safe -- but suspect it is a molt. I have had birds for 5 years and never experienced molt like this in winter. the birds are all healthy looking though & laying eggs regularly so I guess are okay. 0h~ and I found out something new this year. My birds were starting to lay a lot of a sandpaper looking/ feeling -- egg shells -- and after reading up on why--- thru doing some internet research -- it turned out it is usually a lack of water. I constantly have vitamin dosed water for them but with this cold winter the water freezes all the time so they were lacking some melted water part of the day. --- As soon as I put the water jugs on heating pads the water stayed drinkable (melted) and the smooth shells returned. just a little tip I found interesting .
     

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