Moulting and egg laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ND Sue, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. ND Sue

    ND Sue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2009
    I am looking for a couple more chickens to keep my 3 company... Well, ok, and for eggs!
    One man emailed and said he had some available, but some of his are moulting. He said once I move any of the others, they will most likely start moulting also, but that after they do, they will start laying eggs like crazy! Is this correct?

    How long does moulting last? I wonder if my hen is moulting. I see a lot of her feathers laying around in the coop, but she doesn't look balding or anything.

    How long do hens keep laying? I'm wondering what age to look for. I realize production is down in the winter and everything. Should I get some that are laying now and see how it goes? Or get the moulting ones that have stopped laying because they will start up soon? Wouldn't that be too tough on them to move during a moult?
  2. Mrs.Puff

    Mrs.Puff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2008
    Southern Iowa
    Yes, he's right that they will probably all molt when moved. If they go through a "hard" molt, as in lose LOTS of feathers all at once, they will probably grow them back pretty fast and then get back to laying after several weeks. Most chickens lay pretty well for around 1.5 to 2 years, then drop off. They will not lay when molting usually. To get them laying again faster, give them a little extra protein. Some people give cat food (not dog food), meat scraps, etc.

    It sounds like your birds are molting, but more slowly. Sometimes it's hard to notice except for the feathers laying around. Usually, unless stressed, hens won't molt until their second winter. For example, you get new chicks in the spring, they begin laying a bit in the fall and winter, blast off in laying the next spring/summer, then begin to molt in the fall. Laying will still happen after molt, but often not as much.
  3. Domestic_goddess

    Domestic_goddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 26, 2009
    A Molt can last a couple of months and feathers can take up to 9 weeks to grow back. Usually around 18 months they start molting for the first time. They need extra protein during that time. It will be a while before they will starting laying again. Moving them is always stressful and molting is stressful time as well...I'de be careful about that as well. My hens are over 2 years old laying great. If it were me I would get the ones that are allready laying, but realize that moving is stressful and that may stop them from laying for a short time too. Good luck!
  4. ND Sue

    ND Sue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2009
    Thank you for the replies. I'm still not positive if I am going to get any from him or not. Still thinking on it.
    But I do have a question for increased protein and the cat food suggestion... I can't find an answer by searching so far, people just say cat food.
    Do you mean canned cat food or the dry type?
  5. JENx

    JENx Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 14, 2009
    Leicester, England
    I have a cat and the chickens are always sneaking in to eat his food! Which is wet, but i also saw on here that dried kitten food is good as its smaller (maybe a higher protien too as kittens are growing?) so my chickens have both wet and dry. Not sure if one is better though.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by