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Molting Questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by beachchickie, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. beachchickie

    beachchickie Songster

    Dec 6, 2009
    When do chickens usually go thru the 1st molt? How can you tell if it is a molt? Does it start in any certain area of the body? How long will it last? Do they get cranky? Do some birds never molt? Please give me all the info. you have. I have an EE that is younger than a RIR . The EE is losing feathers around her muff area. The RIR has not lost a single feather. I want to be sure it is not mites. It is not red and I don't see any bugs.
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing 8 Years

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I am interested in this question too. I have 3 Stars, and 2 BO and they should have been a year old in may, and none have ever molted. The two bo are broody right now. Will they molt when they get done? mk
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member 9 Years

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Chickens usually go into their 1st molt around 1 year old....some a little sooner, some much later. Even then it might not be a full blown molt, it could be a mini molt....for example; a chicken might lose just tail feathers and that's all. Molts usually occur during the fall, but my experience has been that it can occur anytime. They mostly start losing feathers around the back of their head/neck areas working its way down its back, wings, undersides and tail. Full blown molts last for several months or longer, egg production slows to almost nothing and in most cases it stops altogether. My 4 Barred Rocks are 2 years old and only one of them went into a full blown molt this past winter. We had record cold temps for 2 weeks straight in January and I had to bring her in the garage and keep her in a cage with plenty of hay in it to keep her warm. She looked pathetic too. I fed her plain yogurt to keep her immune system built up and boiled eggs (extra protein) mixed in her feed to make a mash. The other hens picked on her too, so seperation was imperative. The rest of my Barred Rocks have never had any kind of molt whatsoever. I wouldnt say they are cranky, more like stressful for them....because their systems are all messed up and everything just about shuts down to concentrate growing new feathers. Also, getting picked on adds to the stressfulness. This is another reason why I give them probiotics while in molt. Whenever I see my chickens losing feathers, I first carefully inspect for lice/mites, then if it's all clear...I know it's a molt. I hope this helps.
  4. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    We have a small flock who did not molt at the same time and more than one of them was really acting strangely 24-36 hours before a feather-dropping molt. now I look for that behavior.
  5. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Generally about a year after they first lay and then annually thereafter. Since mine start laying around October the chicken coop is generally full of feathers until I clean it in the spring. Egg production slows or stops completely and you have fewer but bigger eggs when they start again--I usually get more double yolked eggs after their first moult. Fortunately not all hens moult at the same time so you never completely loose production if you have enough bird. (Does anyone ever have "enough"?)
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010

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