Molting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by blondiebee181, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,237
    54
    178
    Mar 21, 2012
    Boise, ID
    Okay, just want to make sure my little darling is okay here....Xena, my Americauna was born back in mid-March and I got her from the feed store with 3 other chicks. I have 5 chickens and 2 ducks. The pecking order is pretty much this: Silver (about 6 yrs., a second hand chicken from a friend), Daisy (a Leghorn), Xena, Ginger (an RIR) and then Petrie at the bottom (a BR). I have 2 female Runner ducks, Ivy and Willow. Now the ducks are funny because they will chase off Silver AND Xena if either of them gets too near a water dish they want or a piece of food etc...but the ducks will run from Ginger who picks on them and are also scared of Petrie. They are somewhat indifferent of Daisy.

    Sorry, I like to give a proper background of my situation...here's the real deal...Xena has decided to molt, but none of the others are. Silver did a couple of partial molts but she's pretty much done and no one else is molting. My question is...is it normal that just Xena decided to molt? I don't think she's too stressed, she gets plenty to eat and she isn't even the bottom chicken. Did she just decide to go for it? I didn't think first year hens did a molt. She doesn't have any bald patches, the molt doesn't seem too heavy but I do feel bad for the poor girl since it's rather chilly at night here. I went ahead and put everyone on extra protein feed and oyster shell free choice for a while to see if that helps her. It will be good for the others to put on a healthy layer of winter fat anyhow. Also, she is normally a VERY friendly chicken who loves to be stroked and held and is easy to catch. She now runs away and doesn't like being held and squirms and chitters at me. She has also been going to bed earlier than usual. Normal? I just assumed that her new quills coming in are making her more sensitive to the touch. Is there anything else I should do for her?Thanks.
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    127
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Sounds like she is doing a mini-molt; fairly common in first year hens in the 8 to 9 month old range. And yes, it does make them sensitive to touch.

    I would double check for mites, just to be sure, but I'll bet she's molting.
     
  3. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,237
    54
    178
    Mar 21, 2012
    Boise, ID
    Cool, yeah I've held her gently a couple times and her skin is clear, but full of new quills...poor half-plucked thing :( She won't be too cold right? I don't heat, light or insulate, I have a small coop and 5 birds inside. The lowest overnight so far has been 20F
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    127
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    No, she won't be too cold. My old hens, nearly 5 y.o., are molting right now. Two are almost finished up and two still look like walking pin cushions. Mother Nature gives them what they need - in this case, feathers - when they need it. The extra protein feed will help, so would some high protein snacks - scrambled eggs, cheese, small amounts of dry cat food, plain yogurt, black oil sunflower seeds, etc.
    IMO, adding heat would only delay the process.
     
  5. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,237
    54
    178
    Mar 21, 2012
    Boise, ID
    Yeah, I'm a no-heat person. Good sounds like I've been giving her some good treats then...[​IMG]Thanks for the info!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by