How to force a quail to molt?

shrimpsilkies

Songster
Feb 1, 2020
362
662
161
Two of my hens are determined to lay all through autumn it seems which means they haven’t molted into their winter down feathers which they will need to survive outside. I’ve noticed a little weight loss in them as well. How do I get them to stop laying and molt? They’re already getting way less light than is recommended for laying, would complete darkness work?
 

le_bwah

Crowing
May 1, 2018
1,138
2,857
306
Boise, ID
My Coop
My Coop
Could there be an external light source keeping them laying? When my hens were young, they were delayed by a month or so. We figured it was the poorly-timed porch lights near the aviary messing them up, as turning them off sorted out the late-layers. I don't know anything about purposefully inducing a molt, but I hope someone here can help you!
 

shrimpsilkies

Songster
Feb 1, 2020
362
662
161
Could there be an external light source keeping them laying? When my hens were young, they were delayed by a month or so. We figured it was the poorly-timed porch lights near the aviary messing them up, as turning them off sorted out the late-layers. I don't know anything about purposefully inducing a molt, but I hope someone here can help you!
I don’t think so. 12 other quail in their covey have molted.
 

shrimpsilkies

Songster
Feb 1, 2020
362
662
161
D737470C-478B-4F35-B780-E1CEB2C71761.jpeg
Well this little hen still hasn’t molted for the winter, and I think she may just keep laying into spring! She hasn’t missed a day in three weeks (~10 hrs of light a day), and laid despite several weeks of vent prolapse (recovered now), through the lowest light levels of the year, being kept in a pitch black garage with several meals a day... Right now she is indoors getting natural light levels, 20% protein with bugs & seeds as treats, oyster grit for shells. She doesn’t seem threatened by laying anymore but it’s too cold out for her to rejoin her flock without winter down. These things really are egg machines. Two hens outside started laying again too, but at least they’re in excellent winter condition and are a healthy weight.
 

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