First molt question

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by ccrane11, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. ccrane11

    ccrane11 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 23, 2014
    Canon City Colorado
    How long will first year pullets lay before they go into their first molt. I have Rhode Island Reds. They started laying in October.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    RIRs likely won't molt till next autumn. With most breeds it is their second autumn and each thereafter. Though birds can molt at any time for various reasons. Those I breed, if hatched early in the year, usually molt their first autumn but that's rare.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Each chicken is an individual. They are living animals. No one can tell you for sure what yours will do. I can tell you what mine normally do but I assure you some don’t do what the others normally do.

    Each hatchery has different people selecting which chickens are kept for breeding. They are going to have different traits. If you got them from a breeder, who knows what traits they have been selecting for. Breeds have tendencies but there can be some pretty dramatic differences in traits from one flock to another. For example, RIR’s are known to not go broody a lot, but if a breeder has been selecting for RIR’s that go broody you could have a strain that does go broody a lot. Same type of thing applies to all facets of egglaying ability. Different flocks have different tendencies. I don’t know what the tendencies of the flock you got them from are.

    It’s pretty normal for production breed pullets like RIR’s that start laying in October in Colorado to continue to lay all through the winter. Production may vary depending on the weather but they normally continue laying until the days get shorter the following fall. Then they molt and stop laying eggs until they are over the molt. Again for production breeds it is pretty normal for them to start laying again when they are over the molt and have built up sufficient stores of fat, even in the darkest days of winter. But don’t be surprised if some wait until the days start getting longer in the spring to start laying again.

    Some of mine molt their first fall. Not many and often not any, but some have. When we have a cold snap significantly colder than they are used to production usually drops some, though some continue laying. Production picks back up when the weather returns to normal.

    They are more likely to molt their first fall if they are stressed. That stress may be running out of water for a day or so, a significant change to the pecking order, maybe a predator attack. Something that often triggers an early molt in mine is if they go broody. They often molt while they are raising the chicks if it is late summer/early fall. This does not mean that every pullet that is stressed will molt. Most of mine don’t but it can trigger a molt in some of them.

    I can’t tell you for sure what will happen with yours or even if you have enough for averages to mean much, but I’d expect most of the pullets that are still laying to continue until next fall.

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