Moulting???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kscottjoyce, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. kscottjoyce

    kscottjoyce Chillin' With My Peeps

    212
    0
    99
    Feb 22, 2011
    Townsend
    Just wondering if it could be moulting time for hens living in New England. I have four hens that are looking kinda beat up and feathers are all around the yard. The hens are also more needy than usual, they seem to be ignoring food and running after me as if they want more food. If they are moulting should their diet be changed?
     
  2. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

    480
    3
    101
    Sep 6, 2011
    Lancaster, PA
    I have some hens molting here already (southern pa), and some that have not even started. I never change their diet, and they always molt fine and go back to laying as normal. I'm not sure why they would be following you. Are they being chased away from the feed by other hens? Sometimes my hens follow me too until I go out of the pen and out of their sight, and then they go to eating the food as normal. It seems like they just want to be close in case of any handouts.

    Hope this helps, MW
     
  3. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,291
    16
    191
    Oct 16, 2009
    Wales
    Autumn is the usual time for the major moult. Mine are looking like badly abused rag dolls right now and the coops are full of feathers.

    They need extra protein to make new feathers and (if in a pretty cold climate like ours) extra food generally to keep warm.

    My mob appear from every corner of the site as soon as I come out of the house as they are used to me bringing them treats.....it's a chicken thing! I have upwards of 50 followers when I go to the agricultural shed.
     
  4. Lothiriel

    Lothiriel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    10,323
    129
    368
    Aug 30, 2007
    New York State
    My Coop
    My NHR just started molting. Mine tend to go around this time -- September-November.
     
  5. duckinnut

    duckinnut Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,933
    77
    173
    Jul 18, 2010
    Marshfield, Ma.
    I have 10 girls that have been going through molt at least not at the same time. With inconsistent egg numbers,feathers everywhere and beat up looking girls. dont know if they take turns or how its determined. Even my WhiteRock roo is going through that last week or so. White feathers everywhere. Just started collecting the all the feathers,going to bag them up and put the on CL for fly-tiers.
     
  6. annep

    annep Chillin' With My Peeps

    308
    1
    111
    Mar 4, 2011
    I looked under my back deck yesterday, and there were so many feathers, I had to count our girls to make sure they were all there! I thought someone had died...Maybe I dont look under there enough, it's one of their favorite places to go, but maybe one of my goldens is molting...not really sure...
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,124
    3,324
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Here are a couple of interesting article about molting, including some sketches that show fast and slow molting.

    Mississippi State describes molting
    http://msucares.com/poultry/management/poultry_feathers.html

    Kansas State feather loss
    http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/library/lvstk2/mf2308.pdf

    I personally do not change feed when they molt. The ones molting are usually no longer laying eggs, so the protein that was being used to make eggs now goes to make feathers. They don't really need the extra calcium in Layer while they are molting, but my pullets don''t all stop laying. The pullets I raise each year usually skip the molt and keep laying so those still need the calcium.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by