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Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BBB Becky, Dec 24, 2016.
This is my first winter with my Golden Comets. Two are molting. Is this normal for winter?
How old are they? If they are older than a year than most chickens will molt in the fall, and some will molt if a bit younger. Some of mine are still finishing up their molts. Normally they would be done by now but this year I have seen some slow molts.
Almost 6 1/2 months
My 5 GCs are nearly 9 months and are not molting and lay 34/35 eggs a week.
I would say if they don't have lice or mites and no feather pecking going on, they may be protein deficient. Cut down on scratch grains and veggies and feed a 18 to 20 percent feed less than 4 months old, from date on bottom of bag. GC
They are too young for their first real molt, which usually comes around age 18 months or so. They could be experiencing a mini-molt, however.
Last year I had a Cuckoo Marans pullet who was shedding feathers quite obviously at around age six months. There was no mistaking the grey barred pattern, so I knew whose they were. It was winter and cold, too, but she was fine. The fallout ceased in a few weeks.
If your pullets seems to be losing feathers at a rate that concerns you, and you see obvious thinning, you might feed them Feather Fixer. If you can't find that, you can treat them to canned fish, or even fresh if you like to fish as sport.
The idea is to increase their protein intake and animal protein is a dandy way to get a lot of protein into them quickly.
I have also a question about molting. Does adult hens go through full molt every year?
I have had chickens for 1,5 years and birds are of different age, oldest must be around 3,5 years. But this hen have had only 2 mini-molts during this 1,5 years. These molts have been like continuous exchange of feathers over some 2 months. She has never been without tail feathers or long wing feathers, she has just shed lots of feathers twice (both times in spring) and had new ones growing, she also continued laying during this time.
Another ex-battery hen is about 2,5 years old and she had her first molt (since I got her) this autumn and she was really almost "naked": without tail and wing feathers and with only sparsely placed feathers over her body. She stopped laying too. Now she has beautiful new feathers, but I'm wondering why the older hen hasn't had such full molt?
Yes, older hens will molt every year. Some take a while longer to get going than the rest. I have one hen still growing in feathers right now. Sometimes they do a gradual replacement of feathers. I've seen hens lose and grow in body feathers, then lose the hackle feathers and grow new ones in, then lose tail feathers and so on - so they never truly look naked.
I have one that just in the last week or so lost most of its forward breast feathers and a few higher up the neck. It looks healthy otherwise and is pretty active. 20 months old and the first molt (if that is what this is) I've seen.
Cold time of the year to lose your coat.
Are there other reasons for loosing feathers? This one is dropping them steady. None of the other 7 same age are. She looks pretty bad and cold. How long to grow back if this is molting?