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Molting in tropical or subtropocal environments

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Leo1, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. Leo1

    Leo1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi guys!
    So, I'm in serious consideration of moving to Hawaii. Quite tired of freezing my ***** off! Anyway, I'm trying to figure out how all thing chicken work down there. So, does anyone know how the molt works when the temps and day lengths don't vary much. Right now I live in Maine, so I'm sure things are quite different in Hawaii :) Any other tips would be greatly appreciated as well. It seems like the chicken keeping would be much easier there. No cold, less heat, a LOT fewer preditors.
    Thanks!
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Not sure what you're asking there.

    It's mostly genetic, partly dietary, and partly environmental.

    Chooks of more commercial, intensive production breeds or types like Isabrowns, Leghorns etc tend to moult terribly, losing them all in one go, becoming barebacked. A good diet can change that though.

    Mongrels seem to moult very evenly, losing one feather at a time and replacing it, often you won't even know they moulted at all without watching closely; they often also continue to lay or brood while moulting instead of completely stopping and suffering like hard/fast-moulters.

    Any chook on a poor diet will moult hard and harshly. Any chook on a better diet will do it far better.

    Chooks from heat-source-supplying environments tend to feather slow and moult hard as well, whereas the stimulation of the temperature changes normally free-ranged chooks are exposed to prompts rapid feathering and staggered moulting that keeps the whole body covered at all times, I believe.

    Best wishes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  3. Leo1

    Leo1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I guess I'm just wondering if it works differently there. Here they moult when the days start to shorten and it gets a bit cooler. Since that doesn't happen in tropical areas, do they still moult in the fall? Is it still a big to-do? Here it's a big thing for them. It varies bird to bird, but they drop a whole bunch, get really miserable and pouty for a few weeks and don't eat too much until they come back in. I would imagine that not having the cold and light cycles must effect things somehow. They other thing here is that they kay less in the short days. Do they have a laying break in tropical areas?
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    My Coop
    @ozexpat would be a great person to ask. He's in a tropical environment.
     
  6. ozexpat

    ozexpat CocoBeach Farm

    Hi

    Its the change in light that sends my birds into molt, not the temps

    My place is equatorial - 9o north of the equator - and we have almost the same length days all year around.

    Almost but not the same. the days are 40 minutes longer at the summer solstice than winter one. hawaii is around 20o so maybe 80 mins.

    By late October molt starts. Some hard others take a while. November is my lowesrt egg month. December I am ramping back up.

    Hawaii is the perfect location to have chooks. Every island except Kauii has mongoose though so you need to predator proof your coops

    good luck
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Based on what I observed on the Hawaiian island Kauai, the molt begins and ends at the same time it does in the mid-western U.S. Photoperiod is the environmental que that initiates molt.
     
  8. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    That's the textbook answer, that photoperiod is the environmental cue that initiates moult, but there's quite a few other cues as well... Like chickens moulting suddenly after stress, illness, injury, diet change, and during random times throughout the season regardless of light exposure levels.

    I think all things being equal, photoperiod should be the sole initiator, but it's quite common for moult to initiate due to other cues, simply because all other things are rarely equal, lol.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Molting event of adults outside the normal seasonal form are indicative of need for doing a better job of controlling stress and likely outside the OP's realm of concern.
     
  10. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    If you own chickens, no relevant bit of info is outside your realm of concern; one would argue that your very signature supports this: 'Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it'.

    I certainly agree with that. Cherrypicking facts to share or not share, based on guesswork about what's relevant or irrelevant to their situation (of which we know very little) could be a disservice.

    This forum has many threads about people asking why chickens are ceasing laying or beginning moulting at strange times, or after illness or injury, etc. The OP asked about moulting and laying breaks in a generalized way, so I provided all the info I thought may be relevant to them in future.

    Moving to a new region, adapting to new local diseases, changing diet, all of that can trigger moults, and I don't know if they're traveling their chooks, but if so that's hardly outside their realm of concern to know these things.

    Best wishes.
     

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