Molting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Hillschicks, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. Hillschicks

    Hillschicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    455
    25
    101
    Jul 17, 2012
    Eventually my chickens will molt... Im not looking forward to it... How long will they take to molt from start to finish?? Are the new feathers prettier and better or is it just a yearly replacement to erase damaged feathers??
     
  2. americana-lover

    americana-lover Chillin' With My Peeps

    717
    15
    123
    Apr 13, 2012
    Michigan
    molting usually takes a few weeks. My girls did not lay during molting; it causes them too much stress. When my girls were molting for the first time this year, they got a ton a pin feathers. But when they were done, they looked so beautiful and clean!
     
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    39,700
    1,233
    516
    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    The actual replacement of feathers can take only a few weeks or much longer. But the whole molting process can take 2-5 months. It depends on the hen and how hard the molt is. The replacement of feathers is to replaced tattered feathers that cannot retain heat. Molting takes a lot out of them. Feathers are mostly protein, so they cannot lay eggs while they are molting. Then, once the feathers are grown back in, they need to get their body weight back up before they can resume laying. You can help them along in a molt by feeding high protein snacks such as mealworms, meat scraps, tuna, Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, or changing their feed to a game bird starter (30% protein).

    See here for how bad a molt can look:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/580915/for-the-new-folks-that-havent-experienced-a-molt-yet/0_50
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by