First-winter molt

cate1124

Songster
10 Years
Jul 3, 2011
136
204
187
Two of my six March chicks are molting after coming into lay for a few months. One may be due to stress, as I'm finishing up two weeks of forcing an antibiotic down her beak, but the other -- the first to lay -- is a mystery. All that has changed is ration: When they came into lay, the flock was on a 50:50 layer/meatbird ration to bump the protein to 19 percent, as my flock elders were molting and I wanted to give them some help. The youngsters' molts followed a return to strict 16 percent layer after the elders finished putting on new plumage, but that should not trigger a molt. Anyone else have their pullets molt during their first winter? I've never seen it in 20 years of rearing chicks.
 

Bird_Lover_17

Birds are life
Apr 9, 2020
611
1,735
231
USA
All my birds have molted during their first winter. I'm in the North East USA, so I don't know if that makes a difference.
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
8,118
35,286
933
Belding, MI
Yup, my three girls too. They were also hatched in March and laid for a few months. One of them is farther along in refeathering, and I think she was the first to lay, so maybe she'll be the first to start again.

Mine are doing a partial molt, just around their necks and the "flag" part of their tales. When I saw it on the first one, I thought her head had shrunk.
 

cate1124

Songster
10 Years
Jul 3, 2011
136
204
187
Yup, my three girls too. They were also hatched in March and laid for a few months. One of them is farther along in refeathering, and I think she was the first to lay, so maybe she'll be the first to start again.

Mine are doing a partial molt, just around their necks and the "flag" part of their tales. When I saw it on the first one, I thought her head had shrunk.
Really. This is all news to me. It does seem associated with a cold snap in my two, and both you and Bird Lover _ 17 are in colder climes. I have been too, though, and never seen this before in first-winter pullets. Thank you for responding.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,545
143,341
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Not all pullets will lay thru there first winter.
They may stop laying and have partial molt.
First full adult molt won't happen until second fall/winter.
 

cate1124

Songster
10 Years
Jul 3, 2011
136
204
187
Not all pullets will lay thru there first winter.
They may stop laying and have partial molt.
First full adult molt won't happen until second fall/winter.
I guess that's what I'm seeing. Thank you.
 

CatsandCrops

Songster
Apr 7, 2020
198
306
146
Cleveland, OH
I thought I was having pecking issues when I saw my first two layers, also born in March, begin their partial molt about 3-4 weeks ago. They lost and are growing in most of their feathers on the back of their head and upper neck, plus some around their tail.
 

cate1124

Songster
10 Years
Jul 3, 2011
136
204
187
I thought I was having pecking issues when I saw my first two layers, also born in March, begin their partial molt about 3-4 weeks ago. They lost and are growing in most of their feathers on the back of their head and upper neck, plus some around their tail.
Thanks for chiming in. This apparently is more common than I realized, which is reassuring. No one wants to see feathers beneath the roost without an explanation!
 

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