Molting Newb Question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sublight, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. Sublight

    Sublight Songster

    Jun 2, 2016
    I have seen people talking about a partial molt.
    My silkie is putting on new feathers on her head, neck, and assorted places on most of her body.
    I know this because she apparently is sun bleached. She is supposed to be BLACK, and she is gray, with new feathers coming in pitch black. Its obvious.

    My question is how long does this take. But there is more...

    She got attacked by a hawk, and I chased it off her Saturday. She is alive, and did not suffer as severe a wound as I initially thought. I assume this will cause stress, and I know that stress will cause them to stop laying. ( I don't care if she lays BTW)

    I want her to go broody again. I assume she will not go broody while she is molting. Will the stress from the attack stop her from finishing her molting? If so, will she continue molting or will she just not molt this year?
  2. Flock Master64

    Flock Master64 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2016
    Surrounded by the Amish
    I believe molting usually takes about 3 months. I’m not sure whether or not stress affects molting.
  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Hi. :frow

    Glad your girl survived the attack! :yesss:

    How long ago was it? How old is she? How long have you had her? Has she already laid eggs for you previously?

    The time taken to molt is completely an individual thing and has varied from 3 weeks to 3+ months for me. Nutrition has a huge impact on that IMO, and experience! What are you feeding including treats and supplements? How many other birds in your flock in how much space? All questions to help come up with the answer you seek, no judgement!

    Yes the attack could delay laying... but as long as the feeling of overall security remains, and there aren't constant predators visiting... well, some birds are more neurotic then others and will take longer. So I guess that is still adding up to individual time frame also.

    I actually breed and raise Silkies. They are precious, and very often have lighter colored down. In fact my blue girls actually look black and I thought they were until I got an actual black side by side.

    My broody Silkies have mini molts after brooding (during the chick raising portion) and haven't gone through full winter molt or laying lapse other then the standard lapse from brooding itself. Which is something I'm fascinated to see how it plays out in the future. It's hard to give up all those eggs for brooding 2-3 times per year AND molt. But if traditional molt doesn't happen then maybe it's a bit of a wash and a bonus of letting my ladies raise babes. :pop
    Flock Master64 likes this.
  4. Sublight

    Sublight Songster

    Jun 2, 2016
    How long ago was it? (The attack) 4 Days ago
    How old is she? 1 Year
    How long have you had her? 9 months
    Has she already laid eggs for you previously? Yes, then she went broody. (She failed)
    What are you feeding including treats and supplements?
    Treats - Right now a half a thimble full about twice a day. Just to try and improve her spirit. A very small amount of scratch. (Takes 10 seconds to eat it all each time)
    Supplements - Electrolytes in the water, and spraying Vetricyn once per day on the wound.
    How many other birds in your flock in how much space? She is currently in a hospital box by her self. Normally she shares the pen with 6 other chickens in a 30' x 12 pen.

    I don't care about the eggs. They are more pets then chickens. The other girls are Buff Orphington mixes, they are my egg layers.
    The silkies are just friends. Any eggs are just a bonus.

    20180210_173247.jpg 20180210_173230.jpg
    Chickassan likes this.
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    If she is eating and drinking right now with the attack that recent, then she is past the initial shock of the attack... and on her way to recovery! :celebrate

    You can be assured she will lay likely go broody again in my experience.

    1 year is a little young to be molting, but it does happen. When you say she failed at broody, did she leave the nest before hatch or nothing hatched or they just didn't make it afterwards? Sorry so many questions! Young ladies do have a much harder time with success than their mature counterparts. I enjoy adopting feed store chicks to them during the night so they don't have to sit for a full 21+ days.

    Molting could actually be brought on by nutrient deficit, sudden changes in lighting, accidental dehydration, and probably general stress including predator visits. It doesn't sound like you're over treating though, so that's awesome!

    If she is well, up and around eating and not bleeding... I would return her to the flock ASAP, as they can be a great source of support. Also, reintegrating to the pecking order can be difficult after being out of sight. So maybe at least put her in their sight if you are able. The electrolytes shouldn't hurt your other birds... and I wouldn't supplement past 10 days as general rule. I *might* consider vitamins slightly more beneficial to THIS case than electrolytes... if you have access to poultry nutri drench (feed stores) or Poly Vi Sol baby vitamins with NO iron, or small bird vitamins in the pet section.

    My number one suggestion.. (sorry the only thing I didn't catch in your answers) was feed protein % and calcium... Layer feed is usually 16% protein and 4% calcium. That is too little little and too much for ladies who are molting IMO (if that's what you feed). Feathers are made of 90% protein and its' amino acids. And birds who are not in lay should be fed under 3%, but closer to 1%... as it *can* (doesn't mean will) cause gout or kidney failure. So Orpington, being dual purpose and heavy feathered birds will actually do better on 18%+ protein. 16% is meant for light bodied layer like leghorn. I can provide links to my claims if desired.

    Since I always have juveniles, chicks, broody's, molting, layers, roosters... I go with a flock raiser that has 20% protein and 1ish% calcium from start to finish. I provide oyster shell free choice on the side since that is the only thing layer has besides less protein. Some people switch just for molt, some never do. It's a personal choice. Part of the reason girls don't lay eggs during molt is all the energy it takes up. By providing the extra protein I PROMISE I get ladies returning to lay faster than not. But to me... NO, it isn't just about the eggs at all. But more about the overall health and well being. Molting must be hard since it changes their personality and even their place in the pecking order. Having their reserves built back up faster means they aren't suffering the depletion of energy, vitamins and minerals as bad. But not just calorie energy as in corn.. actual formulated as in (unmedicated) starter, grower, flock raiser, all flock.

    If you have layer but wish to add protein, you can always mix in another feed to reach your desired level. Or make sure your treats are protein rich. I'm not suggesting throwing out layer at all.

    She is little beauty! :love

    And in good hands. :highfive:
  6. Chickassan

    Chickassan Crossing the Road

    Thank goodness Gandy is ok! Good job taking care of her man.:)
    Sublight likes this.
  7. Sublight

    Sublight Songster

    Jun 2, 2016
    She is just eating Laying pellets.

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