Molting Q ...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mamahen2011, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. mamahen2011

    mamahen2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, so it's a couple LOL


    1) At what age do chickens usually go through their first molt? (mine are about 25 weeks old)

    2) Do they tend to quit laying during molting? (I haven't gotten an egg in 3 days from my 1 girl who so far has laid like clockwork ... the 2 new girls haven't laid at all for me yet)

    3) How long doe molting usually last? (I have noticed in the past several days that there seem to be a lot more stray feathers all over their pen, both small and large)

    4) I've seem pics where they lose lots of feathers and some where they don't seem to have lost much at all ... how do I know for sure that it IS a molt?


    Sorry for all the questions. I'm just looking for a reason for the non-laying issue now that we finally had an active layer. I'm probably just over thinking things but wanted to check with some seasoned veterans.

    Thanks.
     
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:Hope that helps. [​IMG]
     
  3. mamahen2011

    mamahen2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. Yes, it does help. [​IMG]

    I don't know if it is molting or just a fluke. She did lay again today, after a 3 day non-laying spree LOL. I don't know if it was a protein thing but I did give more bugs in the last 24 hours (prior to this last egg) then I had the previous several days. Could they need more protein in their diet, or was that probably just a coincidence? I am feeding them Purina Layer crumble and they have cracked corn and millet as added treats. I also feed them grass, lettuce (mixed), fruits and veggies as we go through them, and dried bread crusts on occasion.

    Again, I may just be over thinking things ... maybe it's just normal [​IMG] Not having had chickens before I'm learning a TON pretty much daily [​IMG]

    I'm also going to try the golf ball thing in the laying box in hopes that the other girls might join in. I'm a bit disappointed that they haven't started laying yet and they've been here now about a week and a half. Am I expecting too much too soon from them? Not sure how the stress of a move from one place to another should effect them.
     
  4. Orange Ribbon

    Orange Ribbon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm glad you asked those questions. This is my first year having chickens and I just added a new bunch of two year old birds to my flock. The breeder told me they were molting when I got them a few weeks ago, and I've noticed some are still dropping feathers like crazy. Got kind of worried something was wrong. LOL. Out of the six birds only one is laying and even she only lays one about every 2 to 4 days. Thanks for the questions, and thanks for the answers! [​IMG]
     
  5. mamahen2011

    mamahen2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I definitely think the girls are molting ... at least the new girls (probably why they aren't laying for me yet). I have been finding a BUNCH of loose feathers all over their pen and they mostly look to be the new girls. Also, when handling the girls yesterday, I was petting their heads and noticed what felt like prickly spots ... almost like scabs of something ... but upon further inspection it was actually the little shafts that the feathers grow from! It looks like she is regrowing feathers she's been dropping off her head. They have never had any "bald spots" so they must be doing a little at a time.


    * Looks a lot like this chicken (1st and last pic)

    http://www.bing.com/images/search?q...7A&first=0&qpvt=chickens,+molting&FORM=IDFRIR




    So ... I guess we'll wait and see what happens over the next month. [​IMG]



    BTW, can molting be brought on by a change in habitat? These girls were not house chickens before they came to us, they were outdoors. Our girl has lived inside her whole life. Could that be the difference??? Could that be why the new girls are now going through this possible molt???
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Here is my poke at answering questions.

    Quote:
     
  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Yup, those are feather quills, and I was about to log in and suggest you look for just such a thing. It's proof that the chicken is molting.

    I have three two year old chickens and six 1 year old chickens. Around this time of fall is when they do their molt. Last year, the year old chickens did slow molts and not much was noticeable on the chickens themselves, although I noticed the discarded feathers. This year, the 2 year olds have lost their long tail feathers, but one of the year olds is doing a fast molt, poor thing. She's lost most of her wing feathers and her long tail feathers, plus feathers on her breast and neck. She must feel miserable with all those itchy feather quills, not to mention the fact that she's lost the power of flight. I had to set up a step stool for her in the coop so she can get up to the roost, and in the morning I lift her down off the roost so she doesn't suffer a hard landing trying to fly down.

    Molting must be a pretty individual thing.
     
  8. mamahen2011

    mamahen2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks elmo [​IMG]

    Yeah, after finding the pin feathers (is that what they're called???) I figured I had my cause of the dropped egg production. I also found today that one of the new girls has lost a good bunch of feathers on her underside, there's a good sized patch that is bald, poor thing. I suspect she's the one who's been dropping the most feathers. Her sister doesn't seem as bad off, seems to be doing hers slower. My Justina, if you look closely, has lost feathers but it's not as noticeable. Definitely must be an individual thing [​IMG]

    Also, I just got in touch with the previous owner of the 2 new girls to see if there was anything that maybe she could tell me, she did mention that several of their chickens have also started to molt and they are all about the same age. After reading other people's posts here as well it sounds like it's something in the air as I'm not the only one with youngsters going though a molt. I'm thinking it has to do with the crazy weather patterns everyone seemed to have this year ... must be triggering something. Will just have to keep fingers crossed that in a few weeks this all works itself out and gets back to normal. Oh how I want my eggs! LOL
     

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