kscottjoyce

Chirping
8 Years
Feb 22, 2011
212
0
99
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?
 

extraordinaryfowl

Songster
8 Years
Sep 6, 2011
477
3
101
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
 

pgpoultry

Songster
10 Years
Oct 16, 2009
2,290
37
191
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.
 

duckinnut

Songster
9 Years
Jul 18, 2010
1,935
93
186
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.
 

annep

Songster
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
308
1
111
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...
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
25,233
14,554
727
Southeast Louisiana
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.
 

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