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New Molt

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chickle2014, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. Chickle2014

    Chickle2014 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2014
    Galesburg, IL
    Hi! I have 2 Buff Orpingtons & 1 Lavender Orpington, all 1 1/2 years old. My 2 buffies have just completed their first molt, which was a soft molt. My Lavender, Squiggy, is in the middle of a hard molt, and having never gone through this before, and it being the middle of winter, we have a couple of questions. First, is it normal to start a molt in December? Second, even though our buffies appear to be through with their molting and are nice and fluffy again, their combs are still all shriveled up and pale pink. It has been 2-3 months since they started their molt. Squiggy's comb is shriveled up and pale pink as well. How long does it take before their combs redden up and they start laying again? We have added Feather Fixer to their feed.

    Thank you in advance for any input!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Runs With Chickens Premium Member

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    central Wisconsin
    This has been an odd year as far as molting, most years a bird molting in November is late, this year I had some molting in December, so it's not normal but it seems normal for this year.

    The combs will reflect if a hen is laying, though I have one buff hen who has resumed laying while her comb is still small and not too red. The comb is a sign of fertility as well as being used in cooling off in warm weather, so in winter, depending on where you are the combs will stay smaller because of the cold.

    Your hens should resume within the next month or so, when they have replenished their reserves and recovered from laying and molting.
     
  3. Chickle2014

    Chickle2014 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2014
    Galesburg, IL
    Thank you, I appreciate the reassurance- I never heard of chickens molting in the winter before!
     
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Not uncommon at all to molt late. Here is my home made Black Sex link, the picture was taken yesterday. She kept me in eggs while everyone else started molting. She is also going through a very hard molt.
    [​IMG]


    They'll be fine, and if it gets cold, they will snuggle up to the others on the roost for warmth.

    As for your other birds that have pale combs, that is common for birds not laying. They will get a pale, shriveled comb. Once they are finished growing in feathers, they have to get their body weight back up to a safe level before they can begin laying eggs again. When they start looking heavy again, and their combs turn bright and red again, then they will start laying soon.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  5. Chickle2014

    Chickle2014 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2014
    Galesburg, IL
    Yep, that looks just like my Lavender Orp. I am much relieved after everyone's posts, thank you so much!
     

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