1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Molting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Foster Reds, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. Foster Reds

    Foster Reds Out Of The Brooder

    30
    0
    32
    Nov 3, 2011
    Freedom, California
    At what age do chickens start molting?? What should I expect? Never been through a molting process before!![​IMG]
     
  2. thebanthams

    thebanthams Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,570
    30
    163
    Jun 12, 2010
    Safford, Arizona
    molting varies some can start as young as 7 months! They will be loosing feathers and stopped laying eggs for a while ! They may molt for a month up to 3 months! Takes a while for them to get beautiful again !
     
  3. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,949
    121
    228
    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    Molting usually takes place 1 year + or - from the time they start to lay. Generally chickens will lay for more than a year, say they start at 5 months & molt at 18 months etc. The longer they lay without molting, the better the egg layer they supposedly are. Some environmental factors can force molt in chickens also. HTH
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    39,485
    1,078
    503
    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    It really depends on when they were hatched. I've had chicks hatched in Jan/Feb molt their first winter, not all of them, but some. Since they are young, it tends to be a minor molt. Most molting happens between 12 and 18 months. It can be anywhere from a mild molt, which looks like they are missing their tail feathers - or it can be a hard molt, where they are naked with pins sticking out.

    Here is a thread I created last year to show a hard molt for those that have not been through it before.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/580915/for-the-new-folks-that-havent-experienced-a-molt-yet/0_50
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. OldHippieChick

    OldHippieChick Out Of The Brooder

    24
    0
    29
    Mar 21, 2012
    Fort Worth, TX
    So if they don't molt through the first winter, will they still slow down in egg production in the winter. and then turn around and stop all together in the summer when they have been laying a year?
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    31,450
    3,458
    528
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    My experience with hatchery birds bred to lay eggs has been: buy chicks in the spring. Pullets start laying late summer/early fall. They lay dependably through that first winter, the next spring and summer then slow down the second fall. They molt and usually take that winter off from laying (I don't supplement light), then start up again the following spring. That year they lay slightly less eggs but are still productive. Then each fall they molt and take the winter off, each spring resuming laying with again decreased production.
     
  7. SymanSaysFarms

    SymanSaysFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    175
    14
    93
    Oct 16, 2012
    Connecticut, USA
    I agree with donrae... We have (16) almost 3 year old girls who seem to be finishing up their fall molt. They pretty much molt every fall in various degrees of severity. Some will continue to lay through the winter after the molt is complete while others take the winter off and resume in the spring. We were looking to add to the flock this past spring/summer but we moved to a new home. So, now we have an order of hatching eggs coming towards the end of October to get egg production up and let the older girls retire. Many people will add some chicks to the flock every other year to keep egg production up. Also, be sure to give extra protein treats, such as BOSS, to help them with making all those new beautiful feathers. They'll appreciate it :)
     
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    39,485
    1,078
    503
    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    They will slow down because of the decreased light, but most pullets will continue to lay through their first winter - just not as heavy laying as they did through the summer. I have had a few 9 month old pullets go through a minor molt though.
     
  9. OldHippieChick

    OldHippieChick Out Of The Brooder

    24
    0
    29
    Mar 21, 2012
    Fort Worth, TX
    Thanks. I havn't been through this yet and wanted an idea of what to expect. I got my girls this summer and was told they were 9-10 months old. That would mean they were born in the fall. I'm just trying to figure out when they are due to molt. It's not a big deal. I give away and swap more than I eat. But I wanted an idea of what to expect.
     
  10. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    39,485
    1,078
    503
    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by