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Molting in January?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ralbis1, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. ralbis1

    ralbis1 New Egg

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    Nov 20, 2016
    How odd is it for a chicken (in New England) to molt in January? I have one Easter-egger who is molting -- I noticed this morning that her belly is pretty bare. She seems to be on a later schedule than my other chickens (who are not losing feathers now), e.g. she did not start laying until she was about 8 months old.
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    I had a few molt late last year. It happens. Those that weren't quite ready to molt when the days started to get really short, usually molt when the days start to lengthen. It's even possible for them to molt in the middle of summer.
    Molting is usually tied to the shifting daylight, but not always.
     
  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    8 months seems young to molt.

    I have had hens wait until the dead of winter to molt as well. They are all individuals just like us. So as long as you don't think something else is wrong, I wouldn't worry too much.
     
  4. MasterOfClucker

    MasterOfClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They can molt at 8 months.But 3x on what everyone else said.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
  5. ralbis1

    ralbis1 New Egg

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    Nov 20, 2016
    Thank you for the quick responses!
     
  6. ralbis1

    ralbis1 New Egg

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    Nov 20, 2016
    Thanks again for the information -- you were right; last week she seemed to stop molting and yesterday she started laying again.
     
  7. KuantanCurls

    KuantanCurls New Egg

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    Feb 13, 2017
    I came on looking to see if anyone had a similar issue and it seems I am not alone. I have two Barred Rocks which seem to be in varying stages of baldness around their vent, belly, and up to the wishbone. They are almost a year old and have not yet had their first moult. I've never seen a chicken moult in winter before so treated them for mites but their skin looks really healthy. There is no sign of feathers anywhere so I am a touch perplexed. There are three birds and there is no bullying going on that I am aware of so I don't think they are pecking each other, and there is no sign of attack on either bird. I wondered if they might be eating the dropped feathers because it's so cold and they're trying to keep their nutrition up? One of them is losing weight but is eating well. They are in lay. I'm giving them layers pellets, a corn mix, and occasional kitchen scraps soaked in milk or oil to keep up their calories. We're in the Scottish countryside and it is cold for them without feathers although they have a snug coop which is closed at night.
    Any ideas?
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
  8. KuantanCurls

    KuantanCurls New Egg

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    Feb 13, 2017
    Forgot to say, they are in lay, and have been right through the year with just a wee drop in production over mid-winter.
     
  9. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Your problem may well be nutrition....

    Feathers are made of 90% protein. They don't need their calories up, they need their protein up. Layer is already only 16%, then you are diminishing that further with the corn mix and other things you are feeding out... The milk may have protein, but the oil is just fat. DO they get to free range? Do you have other chickens? They do eat feathers on occasion for no reason. But if it's often it's usually lack of protein and could lead to full on cannibalism in extreme cases.

    I feed my flock a 20% protein "flock raiser" in order to combat any other variables... Some people do this specifically for molt, as the higher protein helps them to grow feathers back and recover faster. I do this because I have growing chicks, layers, roosters, and girls in molt and my flock is always changing. So it's easier to feed one feed that meets the needs of my whole flock than trying to keep them separate. The higher protein works well for everyone and I feed oyster shell on the side instead of layer feed because it can (doesn't mean will) cause kidney issues if fed long term to those not in lay including those in molt, chicks, and roosters. Here is a little article. Note I disagree with.... inside the box for layer on page #4 it says 5-17%, and I believe it is a misprint that should say 15-17%...

    http://ucanr.edu/sites/poultry/files/186894.pdf

    It is OK to offer them some protein from other sources like tuna, canned mackerel, cat food, ground beef. Whatever you have, not too salty. And don't go over board on that either. Balance is key! [​IMG]

    It hit the low 20's F when my BR molted one January. [​IMG] One lady I saw had a crocheted apron for her molting girl! (like the kind people use to prevent mating damage) You could google chicken sweater if you wanted. [​IMG]
     
  10. BlixbabyFarm

    BlixbabyFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok so first off sorry for the lack of answer here bc i know when i have a question what i really want its an answer BUT just wanted to say that i'm dealing with the same thing and wondering the same thing!

    One cinnamon queen hen, will be a year this summer, best layer and has been laying all through the winter when other hens quit, suddenly is acting off. Just a little bit...off. Not always with her rooster and hen-mate and the other day didn't go into the coop at dusk with everyone.

    I noticed she is losing some feathers too? Right above the tail is where i'm seeing the most noticeable loss of feathers. Its not down to the skin, just the down is exposed. . I am also unsure if its molting or something else??? I brought her in today when i found her laying down in the run when everyone else was in the coop [​IMG] She is still laying and eating (ate some grapes i gave her anyhow and her crop was full). Her poo looks runny though and more yellow than i'm used to? I dunno either, i'm not sure if this is a normal molting time or if theres something else i should be concerned about? Anyone have any advice? The flock is able to free range everyday from about 1 to dusk and provided layer feed, water (duh), oyster shell and treats on occasion (strawberry tops, grapes, dried mealworms, etc.)

    I'd love to hear if anyone has an opinion or advice about my hen, I really don't want to lose her! She doesn't have any other symptoms that i can see (no foul smells, no watery eyes/nose, no cough)
     

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