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Pullets molting - will they lay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lollimama, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. lollimama

    lollimama In the Brooder

    Aug 13, 2011
    Hi! I believe all three of my hens who could be laying are molting! I'm pretty sure my oldest is for certain (she's close to 2 years old) but it's my younger ones that I'm curious about. They are a Marans (will be 20 weeks as of tomorrow) and a Red Star (17 weeks tomorrow). I was really hoping that they would start laying very soon...but since there are feathers all over the place and I know each one of them is losing feathers (I can recognize them each) I'm wondering if it might delay their first eggs???? Is this strange behavior? I can't find any information on pullets this age molting. Maybe I'm mistaken and it's just normal feather loss but if that's the case then I can't imagine when I put all 6 of them in together, they'll be living on a feather bed! Anyone experienced this before?

  2. lollysmom

    lollysmom In the Brooder

    Sep 7, 2011
    I've been wondering the same thing. Mine are 23-24 weeks old, only 1 is laying, another is squatting, but there are feathers everywhere.
  3. yinzerchick

    yinzerchick Songster

    Jun 13, 2011
    I posted a question about something similar. The day length shortening and pullets laying. I was under the impression that chickens don't molt their first year, or maybe just have a soft molt? I don't know... hope someone with some knowledge will chime in soon with some answers. [​IMG]
  4. lollimama

    lollimama In the Brooder

    Aug 13, 2011
    Glad I'm not the only one wondering! But sorry for you guys who are in my boat:p I was under that impression too - that they wouldn't molt their first year (these two hatched in May)...especially if they haven't even started to lay yet! I've added more protein to their diet too...I really don't know what i'm doing though:) hmph.
  5. Lake Desire

    Lake Desire In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2011
    My 4 pullets were born February 15, 2011. It's now October, the weather has been cold for about 3 weeks, and they seem to be molting. The yard is full of feathers and I've only received 4 eggs over the past 4 days. Everyone is still fully feathered, however. Is it possible my girls are molting already, or is it typical 8-month-old pullets will slow down on egg production this time of year?

    ETA: they are a RIR, Barred Plymouth Rock, Buff Orpington, and Ameraucana.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well typically pullets won't molt their first year. Maybe they're doing a "mini molt"??? Many chickens, whether molting or not, are slowing down in production right now because the daylight hours have drastically reduced (which is why some folks supplement to give at least 14 hours or so of light). Temp./weather changes can affect things too, but it's mostly light.
    Some chickens seem to blow their feathers out almost overnight (actually over a few weeks) - that's when it looks like someone tore open a feather pillow in the coop each morning. But other chickens molt slowly, so it's not very noticeable. The fast molt looks bad, but it's actually the better option, because they generally get back to laying eggs faster.
  7. Warrprincess688

    Warrprincess688 Songster

    Mar 25, 2011
    Danvers MA
    If they were born in the beginning of the year like Jan or Feb I could maybe see them molting but it they were born in March or April then they should not be molting. If there losing feathers they could possibly have lice or mites or they could be plucking each other

  8. lollimama

    lollimama In the Brooder

    Aug 13, 2011
    To follow up (I don't now if this is helpful to you or not:) my oldest has started laying again - pretty soon after I added suplemental light she started laying softshelled eggs consistantly (other posts about that lol) and now she's back to normal again! And, she looks fabulous too! My two others look nice too, but they STILL haven't sarted laying, ugh. Serious ugh. One is 24 weeks and the other (a red comet that i got because they lay early!!!) is 21 weeks tomorrow. Freeloaders!! Anyway, it doesnt' seem like anyone is molting anymore - the light really helped. Hope this helps!!
  9. Justhatched

    Justhatched Songster

    May 24, 2011
    Quote:I just asked the same question. I discovered lice on some and what looked like mites on others. I have used DE in their coop since they were chicks. I need to figure out the best thing to use to get rid of the problem fast! How do they get lice or mites anyway? Thanks.
  10. cindylo

    cindylo In the Brooder

    Jun 2, 2011
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Not to gross you out or anything - but chicken ickies can find their way to the best and cleanest coops via tresspassers like wild birds. EEEIKKKK. Anyway I've had the same question inimiy mind about mini molts vs. ickies, vs. feather plucking. My 3 RIR's were hatched in February 11 and two of them look pretty ragged, especially around the neck, vent, tailfeathers. One looks great - perfect feathers. She's the instigator. I just know it.

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