Molting questions....?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jashdon, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. Jashdon

    Jashdon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2008
    Snohomish, WA
    Ok, I've read a few posts about molting but I still have a few questions and hope someone can give me the full molt story all in one post. I've heard that chickens have their first molt at around 18months and that it can affect egg laying. How long does this molt typically last? Do hens usually stop laying all together or just not as much? Also, do chickens molt every year or is it less often than that?

    Thanks for any info you can offer...
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2008
  2. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    They tend to molt yearly. Chickens do a full molt, meaning they will lose a lot of feathers in a short amount of time, unlike other birds that molt more slowly so they don't lose the ability to fly during the molt.

    The usually do molt the first time after a year of age, and then yearly there after.

    Egg production doesn't always completely stop, but it does generally slow down.

    Adding extra protein during the molt process can help them grow their feathers back quicker, and may help also prevent pecking.

    Crickets, mealworms, blackoil sunflower seeds are all good treats to help boost protein during molting.
     
  3. Jashdon

    Jashdon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2008
    Snohomish, WA
    Thanks for the info arlee. It seems like some of our chickens are molting but the only time I can really tell is if I pick them up and feel around. They don't seem to loose enough feathers to have bare spots...
     
  4. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

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    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    Chickens do not always go through a full molt. Some do light molts, where a few feathers are lost and replaced at time. This keeps going till most or all feathers are replaced over several weeks.

    With a light molt you will not see bare places. They make look a little 'ruffled' and you can feel the new pin feathers coming in. With a heavy molt you will see bare patches. With an extremely heavy molt you have to be watchful for sunburn.

    The heavier the molt the more likely it is that you be getting no eggs.

    Matt
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2008
  5. Heather J

    Heather J Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK, about sunburn...several of my hens lots a lot of feathers because I had too many roos in with them in the spring. I solved that problem, but I see skin and have been concerned because some of the girls look sort of sunburned. They spend most of the day int eh shade because it's just so darn hot right now, but what do i do about their poor exposed skin? I noticed one is starting to grow pin feathers again. Thank goodness.
     

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