Molting situation ???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BeLaL, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. BeLaL

    BeLaL Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello guys .

    I have questions to ask regarding Molting situation !

    i have 7 girls and all of them went thru molting situation ! and i understand that with no problems. but the thing i dont understand that some of them molted 3 times this year? is this normal for chickens to molt more than once a year ? and will this happen every year ? and during their molting they stopped laying eggs is this normal ? also i have 5 buff orpington and their color been changing since they start molting is this normal??

    Thank you very much,
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Depends on their ages. If these birds were hatched this year, yes. They will go thru a few molts...one to lose their down, then another around 5 months old to get their adult plumage. Usually they will not molt again til the following fall, so at 1 1/2 years old. And not all of them may molt at the same time, so it may seem like they are all molting again, but really it is only a few of them.

    If they are adult chickens, they should not be molting more than once a year. They could have some health issues if this is the case.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    There are several different things that can cause a molt other than the juvenile molts TwoCrows mentioned. The main one is when days get shorter for their annual molt in the fall. If you provide extra lights, that can be manipulated.

    Hens will often lay for about a year and then have a mini-molt. It’s usually not a full molt but their bodies get worn out laying eggs and they need to take a break to refresh and recharge their systems. The same hen won’t do this more than one time a year, but maybe you have different hens doing this as TwoCrows suggested.

    Anything that really stresses a hen can cause them to stop laying for a while or even start a molt, especially a mini-molt. There is a difference in might possibly cause a molt and will absolutely without a doubt each and every time cause a molt. Sometimes these things don’t seem to bother them but sometimes they can kick a few into stopping laying for a while or even going through a mini-molt.

    One big one is if they run out of water for a while. I don’t mean for a few hours, I’m talking about a full day or two. Extreme heat can cause a problem. They may need to shed some of their feathers to adjust to the heat. Adding or taking away flock members, anything that causes them to adjust the pecking order, may affect laying. Scares from predators might even do it. Moving them into new quarters can disrupt them. Changes to lighting schedules can be a problem. If they are losing feathers and productivity, check for mites and lice.

    A lot of this depends on how you manage them. It’s not that unusual for 2nd year hens to go through a mini-molt about a year after they started laying then go through a full-fledged molt in the fall when the days get shorter. Different ones will molt at different times, even if they were hatched together. But if the same ones are going through more molts than this, it probably has something to do with how you are managing them. There are so many things that could be I can’t even begin to guess what it would be for you.
     
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  4. BeLaL

    BeLaL Out Of The Brooder

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    Guys. Thank you very much for the help. i keep them nice and clean but i dont know what happened to them. and now new thing they are not eating like use to . they used to eat like a pig. but not anymore. we fix them nice salad on the early morning, and they used to love it. do you think they are not eating good because of molting situation ? and what about molting more than once a year ? is that because there are not getting enough light ? and Do you think light will help ?
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    How old are your birds? They should not be going thru a complete molt more than once a year. As stated by Ridgerunner, they can mini molt. A mini molt can consist of only few feathers, to an entire section of the bird losing feathers. However a mini molt is not an entire molt of every feather. They can then go thru a complete molt later that year after the mini molt. So you need to determine what your birds are going thru and also as to which birds are molting and when they last molted. I have had birds finish molting in January and start up in the fall. So not necessarily a 12 month period.

    My adult birds, when going thru a molt, can lose their appetites. Their hormones can be out of balance. They can get a bit of the runs, look tired and sleep a lot. Depends on the bird, their health and how hard they molt. I have hard molters...they just poof off their feathers at once, and this can be hard on them. So yours may not be all that hungry.

    So what I do is stick to the treats that are high in protein....meat scraps, recycle their eggs back to them, things of this nature. Even though they may not be all that hungry, they will attack the high protein foods like pirana's because they need the protein. Lower protein foods are just not that appealing. Once they are done molting, they then go back to consuming just about anything placed in front of them. :)
     
  6. BeLaL

    BeLaL Out Of The Brooder

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    TwoCrows, Thank you very much for the help.

    Well, they are over one year old. And i have to agree with you i guess i have go and buy them some worms for protein,
    But let me ask you this. can i feed them egg shell? we are planning to go to the store and buy them some eggs so i can give them the shell to eat . and is it OK to feed them store eggs ? i mean not from them??. and can i feed them boiled eggs ?


    Oh by the way, they are not molting in Full. it's Mini-molt. So is it ok for them to molt 3 times a year mini-molt ?

    Thank you very much.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  7. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Yes, you can feed them store bought eggs. :) Hard boil some up, chop them up and feed this way. You can feed the shells back to them as well. Some say you should crush the shells and bake them for 5 or 10 mins to kill off any bacteria. And some people don't bother with this. But crushing the shells will help the birds to not connect these shells with real eggs, as you don't want egg eaters. However, feeding eggs or their shells will not lead to egg eating. If you have any ground beef or ground turkey in the freezer, you can cook some of this up as well. Feathers are about 85% protein and when birds are molting, they need a ton of protein in their diet. A meat treat a few times a week will ease their molting stresses. Meal worms are good as well.

    I have had birds that were a little over a year old molt in odd fashions. I have also had young birds skip their first adult molt entirely, not molting until they were 2 1/2 years old. I am sure yours are fine. :)
     
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    The easiest way to feed eggs back to your flock is to crack the eggs into a 13 X 9 baking dish and throw the shells in too. Bake for 30 minutes or so, until cooked through. Then you can cut sections, like you would a quiche and feed it to them.

    As for the molting, I have nothing to add from Ridgerunners post. That covers it all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  9. BeLaL

    BeLaL Out Of The Brooder

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    Guys. Thank you very much for the help. it was really helpful. And yes i believe they need a lot of protein.

    Once again Thank you very much.
     

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