Molting?? Please, not now!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hensonly, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. hensonly

    hensonly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY
    Hey, y'all,

    My eight month old golden comets are looking kind of ratty. Not all over, but most of them have a few body feathers sticking out at odd angles, and several look kind of scraggly below their wings. They're not really losing tons of feathers, only a few just like they always do, but they look so scruffy - please tell me they aren't starting to molt in this weather!!!

    Could it be because the ground is frozen and they can't dust bathe the way they'd like? If they are starting to molt, how long would it be before they'd be dangerously bald - we've been having temps in the single digits, and this week we'll be lucky if it gets above 30 degrees daytime high. The coop is not all that warm; we had family emergencies delay our winter coop preparation, and we're making do with tarps around to block the wind. They've been doing ok, but they can't be naked in this weather.

    Please tell me they have better "sense" than to molt in January! Their internal clocks can't be that far off. by the way, in case it matters, we have been getting eggs all fall and winter, only for about a week we went down to two or three a day(in mid-November), then right back up to 8 - 10 a day (13 hens).

    Do I need to worry about them molting now?
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Well... their internal clocks often tell them to moult in Oct through Jan. I have on hen now who has dropped about 90% of her feathers in the past 3 days. She is nearly naked. Just looking at her you can see that most of her body is pin feathers right now, with a handful of fluff and about half her wing feathers and no tail.

    As long as the coop isn't drafty, she'll likly be fine. Can take 3-6 weeks to finish.
     
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    I have nine 1 1/2 yr. olds that are all molting right now. One of them just about has all her new feathers in... boy does she look great!
     
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    They do a mini-molt about 9 months old. The BIG ONE is around 18-20 months old.
     

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