Moulting Trauma

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BackAcre, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. BackAcre

    BackAcre Chirping

    Jun 10, 2018
    My almost 2yo barred rock is having a very hard moult - every day I go out it looks like the remains from a fox fight! The poor girl has multiple naked patches - neck, back, saddle, bum - and she looks like she is half the size of her previous full feathered self! All of this I am sure is quite normal, it is just shocking to see it in action for the first time. My 1yo Sussex and younger pullers obviously have not done anything like this before. My barred rock hen is a really good layer, she lays 6/7 eggs a week, and just stopped the week the moulting became extreme. I am just wondering how long I should expect her to be off from playing after such a hard moult? And would it be reasonable to think she might eventually resume her previous laying schedule, even at almost 2 years of age? I am supplementing her regular layer mash with the usual table scraps, meal worms, boiled eggs, and BOSS. They are currently not getting any free range time due to a ballsy neighborhood fox hanging around. I am just starting to leave the henhouse light on til bedtime lately to give them a bit more light.

    Attached Files:

    ronott1 likes this.
  2. Helloworld

    Helloworld Songster

    How to help your chickens get through molt
    [​IMG]The best thing for your chickens in molt is to offer a feed that is high in quality and protein such as NatureWise Feather Fixer™. Feather Fixer™ is a complete feed, so you don’t have to worry about finding other protein supplements to feed along with layer feed during molt. It is simple and easy. In addition, Feather Fixer™ is optimized in other ways; it has organic trace minerals, which are more bio-available to the chicken than regular forms. Especially important are zinc and manganese which are needed for feather growth. This is a newer feed, so ask your favorite retailer about their plans to stock it today!

    Another way to help your chickens through molt is to reduce stress as much as possible. Try to avoid handling your chickens, and bringing new birds into the flock, if possible. Molt is a normal process, so your chickens shouldn’t act differently, even though they make look very different. In total, molt will take between 4-16 weeks, depending if it is a hard or soft molt. You do not need to add any medications or other vitamins if you are already feeding a high quality and high protein feed. So don’t panic the next time your chickens start to lose their feathers and stop laying eggs! Instead, use these tips to help ease the process.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2018
    Feathers Brady and ronott1 like this.
  3. Helloworld

    Helloworld Songster

    I saw this feed at TSC the other day.
  4. snow5164

    snow5164 Crowing

    May 16, 2015
    I might have missed it ...but
    Did you check for mites/Lice?

    She looks really rough for just molting ,
    Check her vent for any little bugs ,
    Scramble her some eggs with it without garlic and parsley ...

    Give her ash or de or both to dust bathe in.
    ronott1 likes this.
  5. BackAcre

    BackAcre Chirping

    Jun 10, 2018
    I didn't say in my original post, but yes, I did check and she is clean. She is still acting totally normal, and has new feathers starting everywhere so I am trying not to touch her, but this was above and beyond what I expected from moulting (new owner, never have gone through it before!) I can understand why laying eggs is not a priority during moulting, but I am curious what it means for an aged bird going forward- do they bounce back somewhat? How long does moulting/growing/no laying take?
  6. ronott1

    ronott1 A chicken will always remember the egg

    Mar 31, 2011
    Woodland, CA
    My Coop
    Poor Thing!

    You can help her by rubbing the feather capsules that come in. They do like that.
  7. keesmom

    keesmom Crowing

    Jul 28, 2008
    She doesn't look that bad, really. I have several just as bad, and others that are worse. One poor partridge Cochin hen was completely featherless except for a few head and primary feathers. She looked like a walking advertisement for self plucking chickens.

    Extra protein will help, Feather Fixer, Purina's Flock Raiser or chick starter.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I feed 'Flock Raiser' full time...but add some animal protein around molting time, scrambled eggs, mealworms, canned mackerel, etc.

    'Feather Fixer' is a bit of a marketing ploy, not that high in protein and too much calcium for a non laying bird.

    My worst ever, most never look half this bad.
    Shadrach and Folly's place like this.
  9. BackAcre

    BackAcre Chirping

    Jun 10, 2018
    I think she has rounded a corner in the sense that the amount she is losing has slowed down and now I am just waiting for her to fluff back up again. I had read that they are really sensitive at this stage and the new feathers are easily broken, so I have been trying to be hands off, but maybe she would like a little scratch! She is getting a boiled egg or mealworms on alternating days, and BOSS daily. I am mainly just curious what this means for egg production going forward. If she is 2, is this the stage where I might see a decline? She is a pet and staying either way, but I am wondering if I will be down in egg numbers from here on out because I heard that moulting is kind of a landmark for that (ie people process after the first year moult and get fresh layers to keep production high).
  10. chickengeorgeII

    chickengeorgeII In the Brooder

    Oct 15, 2018
    A hen that has molted heavily will likely return to full laying condition quicker than a hen that has a drawn out molt. Canned dogfood is the only treat that I would give and that not over 2 times per week. You will know how well your hen has come through the molt if her new feathers are strong, stiff, shiny, and slick.

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