Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Whistling Badger, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. Whistling Badger

    Whistling Badger Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2008
    a burrow in a pasture
    Hi, everybody. Can't remember the last time I was over here, but I've acquired both a masters degree and a lovely daughter since then, and parted with a rooster who learned the hard way not to bite the hand that feeds him. (he was delicious)

    Anyway, I still have 11 gold laced Wyandotte hens. They are about a year and a half old now, and they have never molted. I wouldn't worry about this, but several of them are missing large patches of feathers on the head and neck (from the affections of the aforementioned rooster). Besides the fact that they look ridiculous (and they used to be so pretty!), it's starting to get pretty chilly here in Wyoming. I'm hoping they will molt and grow some good feathers before it gets REALLY cold, which could happen any day now.

    Any insights on when I should expect a molt to happen? How long does it take for them to grow new feathers? Anything I need to do to help them survive the cold? Or do they grow them as the lose them, so the cold isn't a problem? If that's the case, how do I know when it starte? And how long should I expect it to take for egg production to resume?


    (I could probably use the search and find the answers to these questions, but conversing is so much more fun than researching)
  2. ThePamperedPullet

    ThePamperedPullet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Welcome back.
    Most of our hens have just finished their molt but some are still a bit bare. Generally a hen will go into a molt after the first year of laying, or so they say. Ours are just now turning a year old and have only been laying for about 6 or 7 months. It seems to that most hens will molt just before winter to get in their thicker layers of feathers. Kind of like a dog sheds to change its coat for summer and winter. It depends on your hen house as to what you would need to do if they molt during the cold. If they start a late molt then you will probably need to get a heat lamp in there to help keep them warm. Some of our hens have taken almost a month to complete their molt.
    Good luck with your girls and hopefully they wait until it warms back up before they decide to go naked.
  3. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    I have some that are just over a year and a half old & haven't started molt yet (others have), so not unusual. I expect it next month from the late molters (btw, the late molters are the best layers).

    If you want, you may be able to induce molt by feeding them solely oats for a few days.
  4. Chicken Boo

    Chicken Boo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2008
    Glenn Dale, MD
    My gold and silver laced wyadottes have finished molting and are about halfway through with growing their new feathers. They look a little sad still. Mine are a year and a half old and this is their first molt. I live in Maryland. Your timing may be different if you live north or south of me because your day length will be different.
  5. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    I'm in Texas, and all my birds are molting now. My SLW seems to be a slow molter, she has just looked patchy and silly due to loss of tail feathers, but never looked bald. It might be that yours will do a slow gradual molt, which might be better coming into a Wyoming winter. My SLW is about 20 months old. I have one fast molter, a Easter-egger that I think has a good bit of leghorn in her. She is very close to bald; no tail feathers, neck patchy and wings bare.

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