My birds have started molting - a question?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Nyxish, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. Nyxish

    Nyxish Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 23, 2009
    It started a couple weeks ago with Luke my male guinea looking a little ragged and dropping pokadot feathers all over. Then i noticed that egg laying has very suddenly dropped off to almost nil. Now one my hens (buff orphs) has started molting on turbo - she's half bald in 4 days...with one cute little sticking up tail feather left. Just in case i'll check her mites or skin irritations. i've read up on some of the threads about how to feed and what they need during molt - THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH - but i had a couple questions otherwise.

    My girls are a year and half old, i have 5 buff orphs (Harriet, Honey, Blanche, Bella and Buffy) and 2 (pearl?) guinea (Pipkin the Screaming Moron and Luke Stop Being A Dick) They live in an insulated coop with an attached fenced run and free range when ever i am home to let them run amuck in the yard.

    Why do they molt? Do their feathers need to be replaced for waterproofing or insulation? Do they ...wear out?

    Should i be worried they are molting in November (i'm in NY and we've been very very lucky it hasn't been as cold as normal)? Is there a normal season to molt?

    They are all the same age, now that one has started will they all start molting or is it totally individual? So far non of the other girls seems to be losing so much as a feather.

    It is way too chilly, IMHO, for her to have no feathers. Will she ever forgive me if i make her wear a sweater??


  2. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    Hello, Nyxish! Hopefully before the really cold weather gets here, their new feathers will be grown in enough to keep them warm. I had one go through a severe molt last winter and she did just fine. While they are molting, giving them extra protein will help their new feathers grow. Some folks feed flock raiser, some add protein in their diets by feeding scrambled eggs or other foods rich in protein. Here is a link with information that I think answers a lot of your questions.

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