Moulting hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by azulrooster, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. azulrooster

    azulrooster Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2010
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    OK so I am new to the whole hen and egg business. Who can explain to me why chickens moult and what time of year do they usually moult?
     
  2. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    They molt for the same reasons your hair grows out. Feathers don't last forever. They get worn, broken, torn out, and need to be replaced. That's what the molt does. The old feathers fall out and new ones grow in. Several times as they are growing up then usually once a year afterwards.

    When they molt can vary, but the better birds will do it late and fast. Typically from late October through December. Some start molting in late summer though. Unless you're using lights all but the best producing birds won't usually start laying again until the days begin to lengthen late winter to early spring the next year. This is why for birds kept for practical purposes you want the ones who will wait until late fall or winter to molt.
     
  3. azulrooster

    azulrooster Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2010
    Utah
    A.T. OK thanks for your reply
     
  4. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A chick goes through 7 sets of juvenile feathers. As an adult, the first full molt of their adult feathers usually takes place at about 16-18 mos old and thereafter, once a year. As A.T Hagan says, feathers need replacing and not just chickens but all wild birds molt too.

    And as pointed out, we shed/lose hair (all mammals do) as well as skin cells too -- we slough off millions a day. Snakes shed their skin when it gets old.
     

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