1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Molt - How long is long enough and will they ever lay again?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CityChook, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    I've searched and searched the BYC, but answers seem to be all over the board. So I apologize now if this is a stupid question and I need to narrow my search...

    I know that lots of us are going through molt right now.... me included. My 4 BO girls haven't laid consistently since July - yes, July - and for the last month, they haven't laid at all. They are 18 mo. old. Three of the four molted together well over a month ago and are feathered back out at this point. They never resumed laying. The last one is shedding feathers like c.r.a.z.y. now. She was my last layer, and even then was an every-other-day-or-so-sort-of-gal, and since she's molting now too, I can just forget about getting any eggs at all.

    So, I saw on another post that once they are done molting, they likely won't lay again because of their age. Gads - seriously???

    Also, I've noticed that their new feathers are lighter in color than their old ones. And their combs are quite pale. Coincidence?

    I've avoided using light because I want to give the girlies a break, but geez. How long does a chicken mom have to be patient???

    Can anyone advise this molting newbie?

  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I can only tell you my experience. Some of my flock went thru a mini-molt at 7 to 9 months, with no reduction in egglaying.
    Now at 19 months old they are all about finished with the full blown molt that started for some of them when they were 17 months old. I lost track of each individual's pattern, but I do know one girl finished hers rapidly, 2 to 3 weeks. One girl seems like she's been molting for the full two months, but is finally finishing up.
    They are all back to laying. I know this because the other day I got 13 eggs and I have 13 hens.
    The first week back to laying they were slow to start back up, but they are back to the same averages they were laying before the molt.
    Someone saying that they won't lay again after their 18 month old molt was incorrect. The commercial laying houses discard hens before the 18 month molt, around here they discard them at 60 weeks, because it's not worth it to them to feed hens thru their molt.
  3. ksbmom

    ksbmom In the Brooder

    Jul 2, 2008
    CityChook, I'm having the exact same experience you are. I have 12 hens - 4 are too young to molt but my other ones have been molting FOREVER! I'm thinking they started late summer as well. I have one RIR that looks like she got into a fight with something, she looks so pathetically naked. I am getting 2-3 eggs a day and those are from my pullets who have just started laying. My Auracanas haven't laid for months now. It is frustrating, but I'm hoping they will pick up again soon since most of them are looking quite back to normal. My husband has mentioned Sunday chicken dinner if they don't start laying again......[​IMG]
  4. Glad to see this thread...thought maybe I was crazy for asking "12 hens and 1-2 eggs a day? whats with that?" My blue and black rock hens have been on a LOOONNNGGG molt, seems that they started late summer as well. My 3 BOs seem to be doing a "bit of a molt" but not nearly as bad as the others. I do have 3 Partridge Rock hens (about 26 weeks old) that are laying "irregularly" and 1 Del hen that is just laying "whenever".

    I have given up trying to figure them out.

    I have turned my attention to the 20+ pullets that have just reached 22 weeks....still looking for that FIRST egg from them. 7 Columbian Rocks, 4 Barred Rocks, 3 Black Rocks and 7 Blue Rocks. Maybe I should have my kids start a "pool" to see which one will lay first!! LOL

    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    They need at least 13 hours of light per day if you want them to lay regularly. The only way to keep hens productive through the dark months is by supplementing their light
  6. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    I haven't had eggs for over a month since mine started molting at that time. Egg production went from a dozen a day to 1. There is where it's stayed. A few hens are taking turns laying my daily egg but that's all I've gotten for so many weeks I've lost count. I even locked them in the coop for a few days to see if they were hiding eggs and nothing. I'm getting the extension to the coop and my light up on a timer hopefully next week. Then maybe I will at least get enough eggs I don't have to survive the winter on what's been in the fridge for 2 months already. At least my poor rooster is finally regrowing his tail feathers that he lost to a dog early in the summer. Cept now we can't laugh at the poor bald butt rooster. Do you know what a huge bald rooster running across the yard looks like? [​IMG]
  7. ga*chick*

    ga*chick* Songster

    Apr 28, 2009
    Ughh..must be going around. My oldest 4 girls are just now finishing their molt. They are going to be 4yrs in the spring. They have never gone this long without laying, and my young girls haven't started. Now with the longer nights may just be next spring before I see an egg. Very fustrating!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by