Mallards have lost their color? Is it molting or ....??

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by allquackedup, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. allquackedup

    allquackedup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 9, 2009
    Southern Maryland
    Hello we have mallards that are about a year and half old. We have 3 drakes and 7 hens. They all have really lost all their coloring. The drakes heads are no longer the brilliant green they have always been. Was wondering if it was that they were molting? Can someone explain the molting process to me? When do they do it? how long it lasts? etc. If its not molting is it something lacking in their diet? If thats the case I want to get what they need. We feed them layer crumble from southern states. Same product we feed our chickens. Thanks in advance for any help!
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    The problem with crumbles is that they really don't tell you if or how much vitamins etc have been added. They don't even tell you how much niacin. For that reason I'm adding this to their diet once per month, or twice when laying eggs. This is the product I use:
    It comes in powder form and I add it to their drinking water. One pack last a year for my 9 ducks. This supplement will keep their feathers looking good, and it assures that the birds stay strong and healthy. Obviously they will eventually look sad, but they will get new ones when molting.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
  3. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    With drakes, they often lose their green heads during the Eclipse molt. It usually comes back a couple of months later. During that time, they look a lot like the females. But, if the females are starting to appear unusually drab, then it's probably not really the molt and maybe something else.
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    They are in their eclipse plumage right now. Shortly they will develop their nuptual or mating plumage. Part of the normal progression of things. It has nothing to do with their diet.
  5. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I wasn't saying poor diet, I just said that they benefit from some additives. Once or twice per month is all that I do.
  6. allquackedup

    allquackedup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 9, 2009
    Southern Maryland
    Thanks for the info. The drakes are looking like females we can tell them buy their beak color. When will they actually molt is it an age thing or season type thing?
  7. jrobertson

    jrobertson Robertson's Rare Poultry

    Apr 24, 2010
    NW Alabama
    they do it as a seasonal type thing. usually late in the summer when they are through breeding, the males will begin the eclipse molt, in which they will look almost identical to hens. the actual molting process can take 2 weeks up to a lot longer. especially in first time molters. my mallards hatched in feb. started molting in July and there heads are finally irridecent green as of the last week of aug. usually the hens molt around the same time. after the breeding season because it takes a lot of energy to both molt and lay eggs and setting takes a lot out of them too. so this is why most hens molt right after they quit laying. sometimes, the only sign that the hens are molting are all the feathers on the ground.
  8. KansasKid

    KansasKid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2010
    South East Kansas
    Your hens will molt to but you won't be able to see a big change. there will just be a few darker(newer) colored feathers here and there. My second year mallard hen actually took a big change this year and lost all her flight/speculum feathers at once this year exposing the white coverts underneath. Kinda freaked me out a little, i thought something had got to her.
  9. jandsferguson

    jandsferguson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 19, 2015
    Do the females loose their green feathers as well? I am curious because I have 2 Perkins and I thought I had 2 mallards as well, one I know is a male, the other a female. However the one I think it is a female mallard had green feathers on the back by the tips of the wings (sorry new to ducks) but they have turned brown. Is this normal?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by