Moulting - What's normal?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by krista74, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Victoria, Australia.
    Can someone please advise me when it is 'normal' for a hen to moult? I have two RIR hens, who both started laying in June 2014 (it was Winter here at the time) at approximately 22 - 24 weeks old.

    They have been great layers, and then in the last week of Winter and the first week of Spring respectively, both went broody. The first hen hatched out one live chick and the second hatched 6, of which 5 survived.

    Hen 1 is now 4 weeks past hatching day. Hen 2 is 10 days past hatching day.

    Hen 1 lost some feathers around her neck and on her back but is unwell at the moment, so I can't use her at much of a test case. Her feathers look dull all over, but as I said she is not well to start with.

    Hen 2, however, has almost covered her pen with feathers! I don't know where they are all coming from she has lost so many! There are some big full sized feathers and hundreds of the downy ones. I could fill a pillow, lol! Just looking at her the only bald patch I can see is on her breast which she plucked herself when she first became broody.

    So is this normal after hatching chicks? When and under what circumstances would they generally moult?

    It has been hot here of late - we are well into spring now and today is 30 degrees celcius (about 85 F). It's expected to be even hotter tomorrow. The girls are in the main coop which is sheltered but still hot. Obviously, I am changing out the water regularly and providing cool treats.

    Thanks!

    Krista
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Your chickens seem a bit young to moult at what... 9-10 months old? Most chickens will moult around 16-18 months old, but moult can be brought on artificially by certain factors such as extreme stress, such as a period when they run out of food or water--or after brooding chicks, so maybe that is the answer. Here are 2 good links to read about moults:
    http://www.grit.com/animals/molting...lp-chickens-get-through-it.aspx#axzz3Fo6uMi9w
    http://www.nutrenaworld.com/knowledge-center/poultry/the-molting-process/index.jsp
     
  3. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, let me do the math..... They started laying at the start of June, so that's 5 months they have been laying now, plus they were about 6 months when they started laying, so yes, they are around 11 months old or thereabouts.

    They have not experienced any stress (that I am aware of!) and have never, ever, run out of food or water. They have multiple feeders and waterers all around their coop, run and our free-ranging areas. I guess having chicks would be a stressful experience though!

    Thank you for the links - I will start reading up and see what's going on.

    Krista
     
  4. kschicks2013

    kschicks2013 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Help is this molting or something else? I check them daily for parasites and I treat their coop and enclosure with sevin dust.
     
  5. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Victoria, Australia.
    Can you post a picture of the bird in question?

    Someone might be able to assist you better that way.

    Best wishes,

    Krista
     

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