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Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by oldchickenlady, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    Do chickens moult their first year? Do they moult every year? My grandmother always had chickens but I dont remember about moulting. Thanks for any info.

  2. emys

    emys Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    The chick goes through one complete and three partial moults during its growth to point of lay. Generally, complete moulting occurs from 1-6 weeks of age, and partial moulting at 7-9 weeks, 12-16 weeks and 20-22 weeks. During this final moult, the stiff tail feathers grow.
    The laying hen

    Mature birds normally undergo one complete moult a year, usually in autumn. However, this can depend on the time of the year that the bird started laying. Natural moulting usually begins sometime during March or April and should be completed by July when egg production recommences. The three main factors that bring about moulting are:

    * physical exhaustion and fatigue
    * completion of the laying cycle (as birds lay eggs for a certain period of time)
    * reduction of the day length, resulting in reduced feeding time and consequent loss of body weight.

    taken from: http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/27_2709.htm

    reading the rest of the article keep in mind it is geared towards production houses of all the same age and breed bird. This is very different from most backyard flocks of various breeds and various ages.)​
    1 person likes this.
  3. sreihart

    sreihart Songster

    Hmm... my birds will be 17 weeks old tomorrow. Is this why I'm finding my yard full of feathers? I don't mean to sound stupid, but they look like normal chickens with the exception of a few loose feathers. Is this what you mean by a partial molt?
  4. CathyRN

    CathyRN In the Brooder

    Jan 17, 2010
    Sevier County, TN
    I had read somewhere that if birds molt too early they will be less productive layers, but I don't remember what that source was. My 8 girls are 6.5 months old and haven't had a big molt yet, although I remember about 2 months ago I found tons of fuzzy feathers everywhere. Guess they were going through their "mini molt " !!! LOL:lol:
  5. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    Thanks everyone. I just waited so long for them to get to looking like something besides a little ragamuffin. Those little fluff feathers sticking through the 'big chicken' feathers looked so weird! They look less like gawky teenage birds and more like young adult birds. Still waiting on my second egg! [​IMG]
  6. CAjerseychick

    CAjerseychick Songster

    Jun 25, 2012
    Northern California!
    I know this is an old thread, but so relevant! My birds just completed their 9 and 13th weeks respectively (all Jersey Giants) and I was wondering why the yard was SOOOO full of loose feathers (I did repeated head counts to make sure one wasnt missing, I thought they were being attacked, but they were so relaxed...)....It is autumn, I guess they just moulting... Very helpful....

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