Giving hens a break and molting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by crookedcreekranch, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. crookedcreekranch

    crookedcreekranch Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 1, 2010
    I am new to chickens. I have 6 hens raised from day old chicks and have not had any problems. I am getting here in COLD Kansas 3 to 4 eggs a day from them. My vet told me I need to turn off my lights (currently they get about 14 hours of artificial light per day) and "force a molt" and give them a rest. This will make them lay "like crazy" in the spring. I have not heard of this. Is this necessary for healthy chickens? With temps in the 0 to 10 degree range right now, I can't see trying to get them to lose their feathers.
  2. PandoraTaylor

    PandoraTaylor RT Poultry n Things

    Jun 29, 2009
    some people do....
    I wont Force a winter Moult as I live in Alaska, I think it would be a bad idea.

    But some people don't use lights in the winter and their hens moult/quit laying and are ready to lay again in the spring.

    I think it is a personal choice.
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I don't add any light. My 5 oldest chickens are 11 months old and I have 2 molting. My buttercup started in November and she's grown her feathers back in now, but still not laying. My BR is about 1/2 way through her molt, and also not laying.
  4. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    If you are using the light for heat then leave it on.
    Their bodies will do what they need to when the time is right for them. You can't force a molt unless they haven't any exposure to sunlight at all. I have chickens molting right now with the highs in the 30's and lows in the teens. Mine do not have artificial light, they do free range and yet their bodies said to molt right now! Brrrr! I also have some girls the same age that molted several months ago. My girls are still laying and will as long as their bodies tell them to, not what artificial methods I try and use on them. Mine always lay like crazy in the spring. Normal for chickens.
  5. Kim_NC

    Kim_NC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2009
    Mt Airy, NC
    I use a light for 16 total hrs per day. They molt anyway, when their body says it's time. Generally at somewhere between age 12-18 mos, and again another 12 mo later.

    As soon as the natural daylight gets longer (Spring), they will all start to lay more. That's just natural.
  6. crookedcreekranch

    crookedcreekranch Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 1, 2010
    Thanks everyone!! I am using the light to try to add some heat to my coop. When it is not 0 degrees, I let the girls out into their 12 x 12 run, so they do get sunlight also. Good advice to just let nature take its course.

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