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Molting at 8 months?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by GarthRyan, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. GarthRyan

    GarthRyan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello, I have 7 hens (1 Silver Lakenvelder, 3 Black Australorp, and 3 Barred Rock) and only 6 had been laying but recently all but one suddenly stopped laying and the one that does lay is only laying about every other day. A couple of the BA's have bald spots on their heads but feathers seem to be growing back and then yesterday I noticed one of their backs was missing feathers where the wings come together. Would this be molting or should I investigate for some form of mites?
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    It could be molting. My birds often start molting at around 8 months old, though some do go longer and not molt until they are over a year of age. Is it possible that your birds are picking on each other? Do you have a rooster? Feather loss on the head and wings is often caused by a rooster overmating the hens. Check for lice and mites, too, as they can cause feather loss as well.
     
  3. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Do you have any roosters? Feather loss in those areas is common with overmating. But if you have no roosters, then it is probably something else. I'd look on each bird's skin and feathers for moving black, red, or yellow specks (mites or lice). If you see any, dust them with Sevin dust or poultry dust, or spray them with another lice/mite spray. Clean out the coop and spray it down with vinegar or liquid Sevin, too. Dust/spray the birds 7-10 days after the first treatment to kill any hatched parasites.

    Another cause could be picking by another bird. I'd observe your flock for an hour or two and watch for attacks/feather pulling by any of them. Any bullies should be isolated, and a deterent (like blue-kote) should be applied to the pecked areas.

    Molting is also a possibility, though. While many chickens wait until they're 10-14 months old to molt, others partially molt at 8-10 months of age. It just varies depending on the breed of chicken, the individual bird, and even the year and weather conditions. I doubt that your hens are going to molt completely, but some regrowing of feathers is not abnormal.
     
  4. GarthRyan

    GarthRyan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's everyone and yes i have two Black Australorp roosters.
     

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