How early can a chicken begin to molt?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cstronks, Nov 29, 2013.

  1. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2013
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    Hey All,

    Quick question...I have a chicken that I bought back in May who is 8-10 months old. She was sold to me as an Australorp mix, however she appears to by some type of Leghorn/Wyandotte mix. I'm not sure - she lays a white egg, has a slender build, blue sheen in sunlight, etc. Anyways, for the question. How young can a chicken be to begin their molt. She stopped laying about a month ago, and now she is losing feathers on various parts of her body (tail, chest, wings). She is still 80% covered and has a solid layer to keep her warm, but she seems to be showing all the signs of a molt. She is eating great, drinking, jumping around like all the others, so she doesn't appear sick. I was told that chickens molt about a year and a half into their life. Is this a molt, or should I be worried? Thanks!
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Its probably a molt. Chickens usually molt in the fall or winter, often when they are around one year old. Two of my chickens that were hatched in April molted in November/December (so they were around eight months old when they had their first molt). Others of my birds have molted at about seven months old. Some of my chickens have waited until they were over a year to molt. It just depends on the individual bird.
     
  3. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Alright, that is great news. When she stopped laying, I figured it was due to the shorter days or cold weather, but the feathers made me believe it was a molt. Good to know. Thanks for the response!
     
  4. JonB

    JonB Out Of The Brooder

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    Hmm...this explains things. Our Wyandotte hasn't laid in over 2 weeks, and has started getting loose feathers and shedding them the last few days. I hope a molt isn't a full on feather drop, as it was -10 this morning(base temp), and I don't want her freezing. None of the others are showing a hint of molting.
     
  5. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in a similar spot...as I said my chicken is some mix that is either black leghorn/wyandotte/black minorca, and she is the only one molting. She looks pretty messy right now, but for the most part her full coat is intact. My other four chickens are certainly not molting, as there are only black feathers laying around, and they have a filled-out look. I have closed the windows to the coop at night, and since I insulated the walls, the coop remains chilly, but above freezing. The entryway to the run stays open, so there is ample ventilation. Hopefully in a few weeks my bird starts laying again when the feathers grow back.
     
  6. They can start molting in fall. It's just don't they usually not molt 'till their 2nd year?
     
  7. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is what I thought, but apparently that is just certain breeds and birds. A ton of people have told me that they have had pullet aged birds molt.
     
  8. machuni

    machuni Out Of The Brooder

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    If it gets super cold, i.e. 10's or lower, and she's shed quite a few feathers and has some major bald spots, I would put a heat lamp in there just in case. If anything, you'll just lose $10 in energy while she's growing out new feathers. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry.
     
  9. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Legbar x RIR has just started molting at 6 and a half months.

    My other legbar cross has just had a full on molt, and with the temp down to 30F she did not seem to care whilst ranging in the daytime, active as usual, no hunching because of cold. For the nights I did not block up any of the vents, but I do have a deep litter bedding system in coop which probably provides some heat. Also the coop is only 6'x4' for 10 chickens, so probably small enough for decent body chicken heat.

    I really think the chickens can handle a lot more cold than we think, even during molt. Just look at all the thinly feathered birds roosting outdoors in the trees this time of year. I'm sure our chickens have it a lot cosier than them.
     
  10. emilyschartz

    emilyschartz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wonder if mine are molting since I haven't had eggs for a week blue and mine are just turning 8 months old? I am noticing a lot more feathers laying around
     

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