Moulting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sylvialarry, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. Sylvialarry

    Sylvialarry Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2010
    Northern Calif
    Winter is coming on and I've noticed lots of feathers in their coop. This is my first year with chickens and I have no idea when they moult. Seems like it should be spring time. Why would they lose their feathers with cooler weather coming on?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Even if they lose a lot of feathers, they will still stay warm. Don't worry too much about that. Those down coats are nice.

    Spring and summer is a great time to raise chicks. Winter is a lousy time to raise chicks.

    Feathers get broken and worn out. They need to be replaced.

    When a hen is laying eggs, she loses around 2% to 3% of her body weight every time she lays an egg. She has to eat a lot to make up for that weight loss. She also needs a lot of protein to replace her feathers when she grows them back in, but not as much protein as when she is laying an egg.

    Nature has programmed a hen to quit laying and molt when the days get shorter. Instead of using the food she is eating to lay eggs, she uses it to replace her feathers. That way she has a full set on new feathers for the spring when she starts laying again.
     
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Trust me, you're not the first one to scratch your head about the logic of molting when cold weather starts sneaking in rather than in the heat of summer, when it would be NICE to be featherless... [​IMG]
     

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