Is it normal to no molt?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JustPlainTobes, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. JustPlainTobes

    JustPlainTobes Out Of The Brooder

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    I have had our chickens for almost a year now and it's winter time now. Mine have not molted, egg production is great but is it normal for them to not molt at all?
    Also half my hens are bald on their little heads, parts of wings and sides due to mating. We had too many roosters but have since separated them down to one rooster. Is this normal as well? For him to be mounting to the extent they are balding?
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Do you light your coop? If so, you may be delaying the molting process a bit.

    Yes, rooster mating can get to baldness on the head and back by the tail. It usually occurs with the favorite. (most submissive) It will not grow back in until the bird molts.
     
  3. JustPlainTobes

    JustPlainTobes Out Of The Brooder

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    No I do not light coop.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    What breeds?
    How old? I assume 12 months if you got them as day olds one year ago?
     
  5. JustPlainTobes

    JustPlainTobes Out Of The Brooder

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    Well one is a buff orphington and the others are a mix that my cousin hatched and kind of dumped on me so the breeds are questionable. I got the orphington in the spring as biddies lost all but her and the rooster to a coon. The others were hatched a few months later.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    It is fairly common for a pullet to lay through her first winter and skip the molt. Not all do that but several do regardless of breed but the production breeds are more likely to skip the molt the first fall.

    If a feather comes out, shaft and all, it will soon grow back. If the feather breaks and leaves some of the shaft it will not grow back until the next molt.

    It’s not unusual for a hen to lose an occasional feather during mating. The problem comes in when the feather loss is so great that the skin is in danger of getting cut. The head grab is a required part of the mating ritual. It’s the hen’s signal to lift her tail out of the way to expose the target. When the rooster is holding on with his claws he can remove some feathers.

    This is usually at its worst during their adolescence. Neither the pullets nor the cockerels have the technique down as well as they should so feathers are often lost. Technique comes with maturity. I suspect a lot of that damage came before you got down to one male.

    Also some hens have brittle feathers that are very easy to break. I’ve found that when it is only one hen with a massive feather loss and the others are OK, it is usually due to brittle feathers.

    I don’t know how bad that feather loss is. Hopefully it won’t get worse. But it is not likely to improve until she does go through a molt.
     
  7. JustPlainTobes

    JustPlainTobes Out Of The Brooder

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    I had originally thought the extent of the feather loss was due to too many roosters. But they have been separated for almost a month now and I have noticed more loss on two since then. Thankyou very much. Your info eased my mind a bit. The feather loss is fairly bad in my opinion. I will just keep a close eye on it and so the best I can to get the ladies through it.
     
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like they are molting then.
     
  9. JustPlainTobes

    JustPlainTobes Out Of The Brooder

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    It's in a definite pattern. Head wings and sides.
     

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