Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by HCFarms96, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. HCFarms96

    HCFarms96 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2011
    My chickens have started molting. One of them started molting earlier then the others. The other ones who aren't molting as much yet are picking on her and not letting her get to the food and water. I tried putting out separate food and water, but they won't let her near that, either. What can I do to make sure she gets the proper nourishment? She won't go out to free range, either. She just stays in the coop and sits on the roost. Is this normal behavior for molting? Or is something else wrong?
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Yes, it's normal behavior - when they are molting, they just want to be left alone. While the others are out ranging, take her some extra protein such as a scrambled egg, tuna, or something for a treat for her. They need extra protein when molting to regrow feathers.

    She'll eat while they are ranging, so it sounds like they aren't keeping her from the food completely.
  3. HCFarms96

    HCFarms96 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2011
    Thank you! I was very worried. I have been giving them whey in addition to water for extra protein, but the other ones drank it and kept her from it. I think I will take one of the things you suggested. Thanks again!

    P.S. This is the first time I've had chickens molt, as I've had them less then a year. That's why I don't know anything [​IMG]
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    I have only kept chickens for three years, but we've kept other kinds of birds for going on 15 years now. When I see a bird that sits still for a long period instead of engaging in its normal activity, I take that as a sign of potential illness.

    Our flock went through a very bad molt this year, with one chicken going completely bald on her whole underside. Yet, she still hopped down off the roost and went about her business all day. She was certainly more timid with the other birds, though.

    It's possible that your molting chicken is just staying on the roost because the others are bullying her, but I would keep a careful eye on her, still. Do you notice anything odd about her droppings? Is she thinner than usual?
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Why must they wait until winter! [​IMG]

    Molting should be done late summer/early fall [​IMG]
  6. flowergirl60

    flowergirl60 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin Tx
    Quote:I totally agree. Doesn't make human sense. [​IMG]
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Quote:I totally agree. Doesn't make human sense. [​IMG]

  8. HCFarms96

    HCFarms96 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2011
    Quote:I haven't noticed anything unusual about her droppings. She is not any thinner, except the fact that she's not very "fluffy" right now because of loosing her feathers. She has not been acting sick other than staying away from the others. She did go out and free range after awhile, but she kept her distance from the other chickens. I think she was staying inside because every time she went outside with the other chickens, they would chase her and pick on her. She eats when all the others are outside.
  9. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I think it was just last week there was a thread about molting and mood changes. All sixteen of my girls are just finishing molting. Even the four pullets decided to have a juvenile molt, presumably to fit in. I've never seen such a complete bunch of grumpy, cranky, fickle, touchy hens. Even the ones that are normally always commandeering my lap didn't want to be touched. A few have lost an alarming amount of weight. It's been a rather tense six weeks.

    I've boosted their protein intake by significant amounts to encourage feather development. They get yogurt, cottage cheese, canned tuna, cat food, BOSS, and flock raiser instead of layer feed. Not all at the same time, though, in case someone is about to criticize the menu.

    They all molted at different rates in different ways with different behaviors. By all means, make sure your isolated one gets extra rations if she'll eat without permission from the others. You might need to put her in a crate to eat out of sight of the others.

    It was also pointed out on that other thread that as the new feathers are coming in, it's terribly uncomfortable for them to be bumped and jostled by the others, so many will choose to stay apart, even sleeping in the nest boxes rather than being squeezed tightly together on the roosting perch. It's all normal molting behavior. Kind of like chicken PMS, and in my case, times sixteen.
  10. Ritag

    Ritag New Egg

    Mar 8, 2012
    Liberty, NY
    After reading all the posts regarding molting Im not sure that is whats going on with my girls. I have 3 GC and 3 WC. They have been laying an egg each since August 11. The last couple of days I only find 2 to 4 eggs. Also one GC was sitting on the eggs in the nesting box more than usual for a couple weeks but has since stopped. I think that is called brooding. Not sure. This is my first with these chickens and even though I try to learn a lot about raising them, I still have more to learn. Can anyone give me some info or advice? Thanks!

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