Is there any way to Encourage Molting? Need to regrow feathers for winter!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Hennifer, Dec 13, 2014.

  1. Hennifer

    Hennifer New Egg

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    Jul 11, 2014
    I had an overzealous Rooster and his two favourite Rhode Island Red hens have bald spots on their backs and top of their wings, most of the feathers were broken, not pulled out. I found him a knew home 3 months ago but the ladies have still not regrown their feathers. They haven't stopped laying either. Winter is coming and I'm worried they're going to freeze. I'm in Canada and it gets very, very cold. Is there any way to encourage a molt so they'll stop laying and regrow their feathers instead?

    Any help is appreciated!
    If I have to make them sweaters I can probably make that happen :)
     
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Pluck the broken feathers out completely. They won't re-grow until the broken bits are gone. Your hens won't appreciate the process, but they'll get over it.
     
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    I have wished the same thing....Molt already! LOL But no you can't really do much to encourage it. They say if you put them in some very dim light for 8 hours a day and the rest of the 24 hour period entire darkness for a week or so it can induce molting. I have never tried it however. But I have had some pretty scraggly hens get through winter and didn't molt. I also have a couple of hens that wait till Jan. 1st to start their molt. Like clock work on a minus 5 degree night, the feathers start falling. LOL

    So, the moral is, they will molt when nature tells them too. :)

    Oh and if you do make sweaters, they need to be very baggy. Tight sweaters throw off their balance pretty badly. Even some hen saver aprons might help to keep them warm. But nothing too thick or heavy or they won't function properly.
     
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Light therapy does work to induce molt. My flock in the barn normally has 14 hours of light, except in the September when I cut it down to 11. This kick starts the molt. It also allows the pullets, who are under natural light in the grow out tractor, to be integrated without much change in the light they are used to. I start to increase the lights in November, by the end of the year they are back up to 14 hours. You can also induce molt by stress. The way they did it years ago,when they kept them over the first year commercially was to withhold food and water.for 24 hours. Later it was found that just the food would do it . Now with the knowledge of the light trigger that gentler method is used.
     
  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    But why induce a molt at all? The goal is to regrow feathers that have been broken/damaged. Just pull the broken ones, they will grow back. This is why folks who show pluck rather than trim (on Silkie crests and muffs, for example). The plucked feathers will grow back relatively quickly, the trimmed feathers will need to be pulled or molted...
     
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Why worry about it at all? Bare backed chickens bother people more than chickens. Those types of feathers are not the great heat keeping feathers, and even when it is pretty cold out, most don't cover their face unless it is REALLY cold as in 30+ below 0F or so.

    Really it won't bother your hens at all.

    Mrs K
     

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