Molting-Question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by capebird, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. capebird

    capebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens have never molted before... they are about 1 and half years old. I have one Barred Rock that is now molting. Not a good time of year since it's starting to get pretty cold at night here (I'm in the north east of Massachusetts). My question: How long does the molting process last... how long till she starts to feather back in?

    thanks a lot.
     
  2. Choco Maran

    Choco Maran Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If they are 1 and a half years or about 18 month then they are going though their first real molt. It can be a long one or a short one depends on the chickens.

    Try and find some D.Earth. I used it on mine during a major molt and they started to get feather right away. Also try and give them a layer food wth 22% protein or something else with lots of protein in it. Cat food has been said to help alot.

    It takes more protein to regrow feather as they are mostly protein.
     
  3. capebird

    capebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the reply. What is D. Earth?
     
  4. Choco Maran

    Choco Maran Chillin' With My Peeps

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    areas.
    D. Earth is Diatomaious Earth. It is a 100% natrual substance which works wonders in several asexpect of life.


    NAtrual Wormer, 15 trace minerals, Better feed conversion, promotes shinier coats, digestive aid colon cleasner better overall health reduces flies, ticks, mites, lices. It can be use as a wormer or sprinkle some in the dust bath area to control mites, tick, and lice. I mix 5% of daily food comsumption for my chickens and feed it daily. I use it for my dogs, and horses. I use it as well.

    It can be used by horses, dogs, cats, goats, chickens, most livestock as well as humans.

    AKA Fossil Shell Flour or Perma Guard. Just make sure you get food grade. You can find it at Tractor Supply Company or check with your local feed store.
     
  5. AJ Farms

    AJ Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hope this great article helps you!


    [​IMG]
    What is molting?

    Every year, once a year, chickens will lose all their feathers as new ones grow in. They will stop laying until the molt is completed. During a molting is an excellent time to figure out if you have good layers or bad layers. The process of molting can take between two and six months depending on the type of molter you have.

    What causes molting?
    Molting is a response to the shortening of days that tells the hens to prepare for the winter. It’s the bringing in of the winter coat that may fall out throughout the year but is brought back in to fill out and protect the chickens from the elements. Disease and stress can also cause molting; these molts, however are often partial.

    Early Molters and Late Molters
    Early molters are hens that will begin molting early and can take up to six months to finish their molt. Egg production will drop significantly or disappear for this entire time period making birds who are early molters poor layers and hens you probably don’t want to waste a lot of time on. Late molters may go up to a year before they molt and are often finished with the molt within two or three months. Late molters may also significantly drop or stop production altogether, however because they begin molting later and are through sooner, the number of eggs you receive from a late molter is far greater than those you receive from an early molter.

    How can you tell them apart?

    Telling early and late molters apart is fairly simple. An early molter tends to have shiny and unbroken feathers because they are being replaced more frequently. Early molters often have a greater “show” quality about them. Late molters tend to look a bit ragged, with broken and dirty feathers.

    How Can I Tell When My Chickens Are Molting?
    When chickens go into a molt, there is a specific feather loss pattern they will go through. The loss starts at the head, goes through the neck, breast, body then wing and tail. The best way to check how far along your hen is in a molt is to look at the feathers on the wings. The wings have two main sets of feathers, the primary feathers and the secondary feathers. There are ten primary feathers that reach from the tip of the wing back ten feathers to the secondary feathers. By judging how many have fallen out at a time, you can guesstimate about how much longer your hen will be molting and your egg production down.

    Good Molters and Bad Molters
    Good molters will not only lay late, but when they molt they will lose their primary feathers in groups of more than one. Primaries take six weeks to grow in fully and two weeks to drop out. A good molter will lose groups of two or three or more primaries every two weeks until the primaries are gone. This decreases the amount of time necessary for the primaries to grow back, as they will grow back in the same numbers they dropped out. A bad molter starts early and loses their primaries one at a time. This slow drop out rate increases the re-growth rate from 12 weeks to up to 24!


    edited by staff
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2012
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  6. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    -glad to find this information! -have two bantams that are molting (both are 8 months old.....and the Japanese bantam just finished a broody spell.) [​IMG]
     
  7. AJ Farms

    AJ Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. Might inspire us to write something different to answer the same questions many others may have.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2012
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    The use of Diatomaceuos Earth with respect to molting is bunk.
     
  9. capebird

    capebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thanks all for the responses. I'm just concerned about he onset of
    the cold weather, if she doesn't have the feathers to keep herself warm.... could be problematic.
    thanks!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2012
  10. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    My Coop

    And in respect to worming.



    To the OP - some birds molt faster than others. Some will lose all their feathers at once and some seem to lose them one by one. I find that the heavy molters feather back in faster. Some feather back in within a few weeks, some take longer. Every hen is different. They deal with the cold just fine either way, they snuggle up to the other birds to keep warm.

    Now just because they feather back in, doesn't mean they are going to start laying again. Molting can take a lot out of them. Once the feathers are grown back in, they have to get their body weight back to a healthy level. Once that happens, then their comb will turn bright red again - and then they are ready to lay eggs again.

    The whole process can take several months.
     
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