Molting Questions

SouthernBYChickens

Chirping
8 Years
Dec 7, 2011
186
6
91
Alabama
Okay. Been raising backyard chickens on and off now for about 5 years. My present flock we ordered from a hatchery last November. They are now a year old and have been great hens. Over the past couple of weeks, most of them have been drastically losing feathers. At first it concerned me, but then I just figured they were molting. I had never experienced serious molting. Their egg production has also drastically decreased. For a flock of 12, we were getting 8-10 eggs a day, now they are down to 2-3 a day. A couple of the RIRs have lost a lot of feathers around their neck and breast area and ofcourse their tale feathers. One or two of the hens do not seem to be losing any feathers at this time. Does this sound like they are molting and is it normal for them to look so scraggly while molting? Other than losing feathers and a decreased egg production, they all seem content and still eat like normal. Am I worried over nothing and if this is molting, then about how long does it take for them to stop and start growing their feathers back? Thanks for any input!!!
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,489
18,140
876
Holts Summit, Missouri
All is typical. Timing right and egg production dips. Feed intake may increase if cold to compensate for loss of insulation. New feathers (blood feathers) should evident underneath. If feeding a typical 14 to 15% crude protein layer feed, then supplement with a higher protein grower.
 

SouthernBYChickens

Chirping
8 Years
Dec 7, 2011
186
6
91
Alabama
I'm assuming you mean pulling feathers off of the other hens? I don' t think that is the case. I'm not down there all the time, but I have never really witnessed them doing that to each other except when they are eating and they tend to pick on one or two of them just reminding them of the rank. I think they are just losing feathers by natural causes. Thanks!
 

SouthernBYChickens

Chirping
8 Years
Dec 7, 2011
186
6
91
Alabama
All is typical. Timing right and egg production dips. Feed intake may increase if cold to compensate for loss of insulation. New feathers (blood feathers) should evident underneath. If feeding a typical 14 to 15% crude protein layer feed, then supplement with a higher protein grower.

One other thing I have noticed (even my wife noticed) is they are pooping more than normal, which I guess would be a 'bi-product' of eating more during this time. I had not thought of that. Thanks!
 

MANNA-PRO

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