Molting chicken meaner than hell!! Whats up with that??? help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LauraG, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. LauraG

    LauraG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2010
    Upstate, NY
    OK, my barred rock is molting pretty bad. Looks terrible.

    But the worst part is, as soon as she started molting, her behavior totally changed. She is like a wild woman- crazy skittish and when I CAN corner her and pick her up- shes SCREAMING for her LIFE!! [​IMG]

    Now, mind you, this chicken used to jump up on my lap and want to be held and pet. She followed me around and was a real sweetheart. Very, very tame

    Now, shes a crazy maniac! [​IMG]

    Does molting = behavioral changes?

    Anyone have any similar experiences or thoughts on this??
  2. MarieNC

    MarieNC Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    One of my RIRs recently went through a serious molt and she was very cranky about being picked up until the feathers started really coming out. Not to the extent that your chicken is experiencing, though.
  3. OregonChickenGal

    OregonChickenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    Central Oregon
    Molting is hard on them, I have one chicken that acts completely different when she's molting. It may feel very uncomfortable to them when you pick them up during the molt. She'll get back to normal when she's done molting. She's not broody on top of the molt is she? That would really make her wacky. Acting like the mad hatter.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011

    KIDDSBANTAMS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 15, 2010
    All of mine are cranky also when molting. They stop laying and do not want to be messed with.
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Molting birds are protecting their incoming feathers by distancing themselves from others, including you, that might pick at blood feathers as a potential food source. THey are also more vulnerable to predators at this since flight capacity reduced (in breeds that can fly).
  6. goldies99

    goldies99 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2011
    give her a little cat food.....i heard it helps when molting
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    They can have complete personality changes while molting. It actually is quite uncomfortable for them, even painful to be picked up sometimes. One of my friendliest hens became a complete psycho during her first big molt. She was crazy, ran around the coop like an egg beater, screaming at the top of her lungs if I just looked at her.
  8. LauraG

    LauraG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2010
    Upstate, NY
    Ow wow THANKS everybody!!! [​IMG]

    I feel much better knowing this is par for the course.......

  9. bambi

    bambi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2010
    I would be cranky to if all of my hair started falling out:lol:
  10. auto5man

    auto5man Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 27, 2011
    I hadn't considered the discomfort angle before, but if you think about it, this is the time when birds are the MOST vulnerable to predators and so their behavior changes. I use to work on a campus with resident Canada geese and so would see behavior changes throughout the year, the two most profound being during the spring and late summer. Spring was breeding season and they became downright territorial...any approach would provoke an attack. Late summer was molt time and completely opposite behavior, they stayed in a tight group and maintained a distance with any approach. They were very quiet, almost non-vocal during this time. Since they can't fly (greatest defense against predators) at this time, the behavior changes profoundly. Now chickens aren't strong flyers like waterfowl, but it's the same. Their feathers are their armor, they spend alot of time on maintenance (preening, dust bathing), so during the molt they feel VERY vulnerable and 'out of sorts'.

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