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Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by marytieszen, Jan 3, 2016.
How old is a hen when she starts to molt?
Thanks for starting this new thread. I have two hens in year three, many in year two and multiple in their first year. I have not had any molting yet. Maybe I had a little at one point but not noticeable.
I read in the other thread that upping their protein could help during the molt, so I am wondering if upping the protein all the time helps prevent the molting? I have always fed them raw hamburger meat 2-3 times a week that they just go nuts over, maybe this has helped. (in addition to their regular protein chicken laying crumble feed).
So I guess I am asking if some people NEVER experience molting, or will my day come?
Usually they don't molt until they are about 18 months or during their second fall, whichever comes first. But this year I've had girls molt as young as 8 to 9 months.
Hamburger. Well, I never thought of that. I read where you should increase their protein by 20% during molting. How you do that exactly, I don't know. We bought feed that was recommended. Bonnie did come out of it nicely, but she was not a fun bird for a couple months. Thanks for your help.
Feeding lots of protein won't stop them from molting. Molting is how their old feathers get replaced. They need new feathers to help stay warm. Old, ragged feathers do not hold in warmth very well. The birds that haven't molted in three years must look pretty ragged.
June, none of my ladies look ragged at all. Maybe it is because they have so much free range room and dirt and sandy places to bathe. They are constantly digging in an existing hole or digging new ones to ruffle their feathers in the dirt. I guess that is why they maybe have not "needed" to molt, or as you say it, their feathers don't look ragged so they might not need to. Whatever the case, we seem to get a regular output of feathers from the flock as they naturally prune themselves nightly while they roost, so that must be all my ladies are needing to do.
It could be that some of your girls are such subtle molters that you've never actually noticed them molting. I've got a few like that.
I was under the assumption that molting meant losing all the feathers. I did not know that there was a subtle molt. Maybe that is the case. With 21 birds though it seems like a molt of any kind on one or more would leave a noticeable amount of feathers instead of just the normal feathers that come off here and there. Who knows.....
I've got some 8 month old pullets molting now. Look at their hackle and tail feathers:
Hey, I've got one that likes to put off serious molting until a proper cold snap. LOL. Because bald patches is so wonderful.
My girls are gradual molters.