Molting 12 week olds? Normal?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CluckyInKY, Jul 16, 2016.

  1. CluckyInKY

    CluckyInKY Out Of The Brooder

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    First time chicken mom here. My girls seem to be losing quite a few feathers. They are about 12-13 weeks old. Not very visible on their bodies, other than I notice a few gaps on their wings & tails where feathers once were. The coop, run, and yard look like someone had a pillow fight. They aren't pecking each other and they aren't eating the feathers.
    I feed them starter/grower feed that's always available (coop AND run), feed them scraps of protein, fruits, and veggies, and have chick grit available. They free range for about 2 hours a day.
    Is this just a stage? Or am I doing something wrong?
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  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    It's normal for them to go through baby molts as they grow, otherwise their feathers wouldn't fit if they didn't grow bigger ones. So nothing to worry about.[​IMG]
     
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  3. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's normal for some feather loss. What you want to keep an eye on is missing patches of them, excessive itching, and things like that. I have been worried about things like that because I see people talking about infestations on their chickens (mites, chicken lice, etc). I put food grade diatomaceous earth in my coop (on the nesting shelves, in corners, a little in the nesting boxes, some on the floor), and then some in their dust bathing area since I don't want to just throw and hope to get some on my birds (mine are a pain to try to catch and dust so it's easier to put in the dust bathing area). Technically you should wear a mask and gloves when you do it. I forgot to put on a mask, but I wore gloves.

    One of my girls was missing a patch from her neck (inner part leading down toward her crop), and I kind of freaked for a minute. Then as I was standing there watching her eat I realized she was sticking her head down into the feeder to access feed (silly girl) and her neck was rubbing against it. It cleared up on its own though since I saw her doing that I try to just keep it full so she won't do it.
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Completely normal. You would not believe how many posts on the Breed/Gender board are about pullets that suddenly have 'rooster' tails. Then I have to explain, it's still a pullet, she's just molting. As the tail feathers get pushed out by the new feathers, they can start to get an arch to them. Gives lots of first time owners worry about cockerels.
     
  5. CluckyInKY

    CluckyInKY Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks friends!
    I figured they were fine bc they're happy & healthy otherwise. I'm kind of obsessed, so I notice every little thing lol
    And I use DE and barn lime in my coop & the dust bath. Hoping to avoid the mite/lice altogether bc creepy crawlers are not my forte! Hahaha
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I'm glad to see someone else reference barn lime, when I do it no one knows what it is. I personally avoid DE like the plague, I have read bad things about what it does to lungs and beneficial insects. Most chickens control mites and lice with a good dust bath. I've only had broody hens and sick chickens get overwhelmed by parasites. I prefer a good dusting with a pyrethrin based poultry dust when necessary. The barn lime gets used everywhere.
     
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