One of 18 molting and getting picked on.


5 Years
Jul 4, 2014
I have 18 hens. One is definitely molting and some of the others are starting to loose their neck feathers. The problem is the other 17 are really picking on the one that is in full molt. Is this normal? Are they going to pick on each bird when it molts? I also think they are a little crowded. Time to thin the flock??? They are all layers and are about 18 months old. Never molted before. Sextants from TSC. Egg production has slightly declined from 16 a day avg to about 10. Is this slow down expected for their age? or something they will bounce back from after molting is done?
Next question (not for everyone)lol??? Eating 18 month old layers. What can I expect?
Thanks for any replys. Any information you can give me helps me to manage my flock better. Thanks.
Slowdown always happens when they start to molt. They can't really make eggs and feathers at the same time. Their reproductive tract also needs to shut down simultaneously to do an annual overhaul.
They can lay for many years, they'll just take a longer and longer break every autumn/winter.
The molters feel like crap and will be a bit lethargic. If it's crowded they'll pick on each other whether molting or not.
All that are starting to lose feathers are starting to molt. 18 months is the right time for the first full molt. Expect it the same time every year.
Another option is to build another coop or enlarge yours, get some younger birds so that the young ones will carry you through the molt of the elders. The older birds will again lay like gangbusters after winter solstice.
Since feathers are about 90+% protein, they could be needing more protein in the diet. That will cause them to eat feathers, hence pecking.
Thank you ChickenCanoe , Very good info. The coop is the same one they have been in since I brought them home. I mix in DDG (dried distillers grains) with their layer feed. I am hoping this is enough added protein for them. I am also ready to try adding cat food. Any thoughts on this mix.
Do you know what the protein percentage of dried distillers grain is?

There are limiting amino acids so even though something might be high in protein, there could be a few amino acids that are deficient so can still be a problem. Chickens have 14 amino acids that are essential (they can't make them from others)

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