Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cjeanean, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    I have FINALLY discovered why my hens stopped laying a month ago!!!! THEY'RE MOLTING!!!! Hubby went outside the other day to catch a chicken that had flown the fence, and he saw something funny on her neck feathers. He was like, what is this?!?!! They were blood feather shafts!!!! That means they've been SLOWLY molting! So now I have some questions:

    I have them on a 14 hr light day cause I have some younger chickens that are just now starting to lay, should I cut the light completely to sacrifice the eggs I'm getting from my new layers???

    How long does a molt last?

    What's the best way to guarantee that they have good complete molts?? Right now they are all on layer feed w/ oyster shell supplement and some scratch every day as a treat. I've read that some people on here have had chickens that don't quite recover after their molts. How can I ensure good molting???

    I think that's it....thanks to everyone for bearing with my freaking out and paranoia about what was wrong!!!
  2. WriterofWords

    WriterofWords Has Fainting Chickens

    Dec 25, 2007
    Chaparral, New Mexico
    I found out two hens weren't laying cuz they are roos!
  3. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Quote:[​IMG] [​IMG]
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Good one WriterofWords. [​IMG]

    Since feathers are lots of protein, extra protein may help out. I usually use a feed they call "layer supplement" which is 20% vs 16% protein from the feed store.
  5. jnjross

    jnjross Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    edwards, ms
    Quote:[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I would turn off the extra light and give this time as their natural down time. They need it in order to be productive longer in their life.

    Extra protein will help them through this stage.
  7. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    what can I give them to supplement their protein??? I really don't want to switch up feeds on them again. And extra protein won't hurt the younger ones that aren't molting?
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Miss Prissy - what would be some good foods to add to supplement their protein, besides the higher protein layer feed? Don't most nuts add supply a good source of protein? We have lots and lots of pecans going to waste on the ground right now.
  9. chickenpiedpiper

    chickenpiedpiper Songster

    Aug 4, 2008
    New Durham NH
    First off, Relax.... Molt happens. You dont need to do anything special or extra. Molt coincides with a rest period for laying hens. Emphasis on rest. Keep your lighting up, for your younger birds, and just keep an eye on your molting birds. It does not happen quickly, get used to the scruffy appearance! I have two RIRs that are over 6 years old. One molted this spring, and it took her months to look plump and lovely again, and then just as I had a nice matched set again, the second betty dropped half her feathers in 3 days! She looks simply Awful! (and COLD) but she is acting healthy, and covered with oodles of new little feathers.

    Dont sweat it, they know what to do, and give them plenty of time. I know it is hard, cause they look so scruffy. they even seem to have a personality change a bit, more subdued, but I think that is just par for the course. My betty's are both still dominant, even tho the second one hangs out by the coop more now. ( I think she is cold)

    Good Luck!
  10. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Bugs, worms, mice, lizards, meat scraps, tbsp of wet cat food, toss out a handful of dry kitty kibble, etc.

    They are omnivors and need the meat proteins. Most feeds are vegetable based and just don't give them everything they need.

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