Molting or picking?

shadowbanned

In the Brooder
May 29, 2021
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This is my first year keeping chickens. I heard they don't molt their first year but my yard is full of feathers and they all look a little scruffy. I got them in February, light brahma and lavender Orpington. One of the brahmas is now missing feathers on her feet and her big tail feathers are gone too! I just switched them to meatbird and cut back on scratch to see if it helps.
Does this sound like molting or feather picking to you?
Thanks!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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I got them in February,
As day old chicks?


I heard they don't molt their first year but my yard is full of feathers and they all look a little scruffy.
Some pullets will have a partial molt their first fall/winter.

A couple of my light brahmas, now 8-9mo, are having themselves a molt.
Not sure it will be a full molt, but quite a few feathers on the boards.
 

Ridgerunner

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I heard they don't molt their first year
That's very often misunderstood on here. I'd guess you read that on this forum. "Some" pullets skip their molt the first fall/winter and continue to lay through that winter. Some doesn't mean all. Some will have a molt their first fall/winter and stop laying. Some of these molt fairly early in the fall, some wait pretty late. Some will resume laying when they finish the molt, even if it is the dead of winter. Some will wait until the longer days of spring to start laying again. Some finish a molt in less than 2 months, some take five months before they finish.

Each chicken is different, they have their own personality, traits, and behaviors. We keep them in different conditions: different climates, different housing, feed and manage them different, different flock make-ups, different breeds or mixes, and so many other differences. Regardless of breed, they don't all start to roost or start laying eggs at exactly the same age, some hens go broody a lot, some never do. Some are easier to integrate than others. Different broody hens wean their chicks at different ages. The same thing is true of molting, they don't all do exactly the same thing. What you describe sure sounds like molting.
 

shadowbanned

In the Brooder
May 29, 2021
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I'm pretty sure it was molting lol. It wasn't too bad I guess. More of the hens started shedding feathers and the one who lost her tail feathers grew back new ones. I quit giving them scratch and fed them meats and high protein snacks in the morning and also switched them to meatbird. They've started laying again just not as much as during summer.
 

shadowbanned

In the Brooder
May 29, 2021
36
34
46
As day old chicks?



Some pullets will have a partial molt their first fall/winter.

A couple of my light brahmas, now 8-9mo, are having themselves a molt.
Not sure it will be a full molt, but quite a few feathers on the boards.
I think they were a couple days old. Tractor supply has them shipped in right after they hatch I think.
 

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