First Molt? when and how do you know?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by maizey, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. maizey

    maizey Chillin' With My Peeps

    My girls are 12 weeks and I am noticing a sprinkling of feathers in the run and some under their roost in the coop. They don't have any bald spots and seem happy so could this be a first molt or will that be more spectacular with naked chickens running all over the back yard? Do they have to molt before they start laying? Thanks
     
  2. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    6,950
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    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    They actually go through a couple of molts before they get their grown up feathers. That all happens before they hit the year mark. After that they should molt once a year. You can tell because it looks like a feather pillow has exploded. [​IMG] Some of my girls do a really obvious molt and do run around nekkid for a while. Others I never know until I suddenly realize that they look cleaner.

    Sooooo... yes. Your babies are likely molting and they will molt before they start laying. [​IMG]
     
  3. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA
    Yep. As CGITC said, they go through many "mini molts" before their full feathering has come in (around 16 weeks). From one year on they should molt once a year. But they may go through some un-expected molts, though those are nothing to worry about.
     
  4. maizey

    maizey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good! Maybe ill get an egg for Valentines day! [​IMG]

    Thanks guys!
     
  5. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    Juvenile molts are different from molts that happen *after* egg-laying begins. Because their bodies are rapidly growing, chicks have to grow into several sets of feathers before getting their adult plummage. Once they start laying, some will do a mini-molt about 7-9 months of age, where a substantial area of feathers drop at once. One of my flock had a mini-molt last year, at 7 months old, and she stopped laying for a couple months. Mini-molts aren't usually as drastic as the other adult molt, the hard molt. That one happens around 12-18 months old. Although, I have two 20 month old hens who haven't had an adult molt yet.
     

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