Molts

MohrChickens

In the Brooder
Mar 22, 2021
10
8
19
Wisconsin
This is my first time with a backyard flock and two of my hens (8 months old) are towards the end of a molt. Is molting early more common than I think and/or have been reading? Out of my own curiosity have any fellow chicken tenders experienced a molt before the 18 month mark? I know there are many environmental factors but those set aside, what are you’re experiences with molting?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,314
23,680
907
Southeast Louisiana
I know there are many environmental factors but those set aside, what are you’re experiences with molting?
You can't set environmental factors aside, they are part of it, especially lighting.

That 18 months is talking about commercial egg laying operations where they start the pullets laying around five months of age, mainly by manipulating the lights. After the pullets/hens have laid continuously for a period of time, usually around 13 straight months, production and quality drops off so much it's no longer economical to feed them for the eggs they are getting. So they have to decide if they replace them or take them through a molt to recharge their system. It doesn't matter what time of the year they start this cycle because the chickens have artificial light. We don't keep our chickens that way. We don't micromanage every bit if light they see.

Typically what causes a molt is the days getting shorter. There can be other reasons, usually some type of stress, but the main cause of a molt is the days getting shorter. Some pullets will skip the molt and keep laying through their first winter, some don't. Some hens molt pretty early in the fall, some wait until later in the fall. Some finish a molt in less than two months, some may take five months before they finish. Some start laying when they finish the molt, some may wait until the longer days of spring before they start laying again.

My experience with molting is that the days getting shorter has a big effect but you can never be sure what any specific hen will do.
 

Kriscam

Songster
Mar 19, 2021
103
147
101
This is my first time with a backyard flock and two of my hens (8 months old) are towards the end of a molt. Is molting early more common than I think and/or have been reading? Out of my own curiosity have any fellow chicken tenders experienced a molt before the 18 month mark? I know there are many environmental factors but those set aside, what are you’re experiences with molting?
I'm also a first time chicken keeper and appreciate your post. I have four 9-month old hens that I adore, and our Barnevelder went broody about three weeks ago. I kept her out of the nest boxes during the day and put her on the perch at night and she stopped after a couple of days. Then she started to molt! I was also confused because everything I've read said they molt around 18 months. She is our most anxious and skittish girl and just seems to have a hyper-vigilant personality. Her flock mates are much more people friendly and let us pick them up and hold them. I've read everything I can get my hands on about taking good care of chickens and I've learned that there is always conflicting information on just about every topic! I really appreciate this forum. It has helped me a lot.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
12,099
31,861
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North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
I'm also a first time chicken keeper and appreciate your post. I have four 9-month old hens that I adore, and our Barnevelder went broody about three weeks ago. I kept her out of the nest boxes during the day and put her on the perch at night and she stopped after a couple of days. Then she started to molt! I was also confused because everything I've read said they molt around 18 months. She is our most anxious and skittish girl and just seems to have a hyper-vigilant personality. Her flock mates are much more people friendly and let us pick them up and hold them. I've read everything I can get my hands on about taking good care of chickens and I've learned that there is always conflicting information on just about every topic! I really appreciate this forum. It has helped me a lot.

Some hens molt after being broody.

My Cordon went broody 3 times in early summer then had a partial molt at the end of July.
 

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