skipping their molt?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SueBaby, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. SueBaby

    SueBaby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 14, 2011
    Oceanside, CA
    My girls were hatched in early April and late May. I've been told that they will skip their molt this fall, which I assume is a good thing- ie more eggs for us.

    Question #1, if I start my next set of chicks in the winter will they still skip their molt the first year? It seems like it would be a good idea to start with chicks earlier so that they get into a good egg laying routine before the days get short in the fall. I just wonder if they are old enough to be good layers by fall, would they also be old enough to molt?

    Our current pullets that were hatched in April are pretty consistent layers. I think only 1 of the 3 hatched in late May is laying. I am wondering if they are more affected by the shortening days than the older ones. I am in So. Cal, so the days are not as short as they are in more northern locations.

    Question #2, Is there a chance they won't start laying at all until the days get longer again?
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Different breeds do different things, in my experience.

    With a high output layer like a sexlink or production strains of RIR, BR, etc, a "spring chicken" (thus, the expression) will generally not moult their first autumn, as they just aren't in need of a full body do over. A chick born in late summer, fall or winter generally WILL moult that next fall. It is nature's way. Birds have mini moults that aren't as noticeable, but the big one causes the bird to have a new lease on feathers. During the moult, she stops laying because it would be very difficult to have adequate protein to do both, as both the feather and the egg require protein. Not laying for a few months also gives the reproductive system a breather. Good for us to remember that a chicken lays eggs to reproduce, not produce food, per se. In domesticating the bird, we're just "stealing" her eggs. She only needs to lay 24-40 eggs a year for reproduction purposes. We've "upped the anti" and through selective breeding have pushed them to laying rates far beyond what they need for mere reproduction.
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The batch you mentioned hatched in May, these may not lay until next spring. By the time their maturity is reached, the daylight hours have really declined. If you are inclined, you can push them with artificial lighting, but even then, they may still wait until next spring. I love September hatched chicks for this reason. They start laying in February and lay up a storm until their first moult in fall.
     
  4. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 2, 2011
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    I have six pullets hatched late Feb., and I believe one EE has been moulting very slowly for many weeks. She is a big buff EE, started laying at 19 wks, and was this summer a very good layer of big bluish eggs, sometimes bigger than BR eggs. I think another may be starting to molt, too. I did not expect them to molt this year but am learning.
     
  5. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2011
    West Coast USA
    Fred's Hens :

    The batch you mentioned hatched in May, these may not lay until next spring. By the time their maturity is reached, the daylight hours have really declined. If you are inclined, you can push them with artificial lighting, but even then, they may still wait until next spring. I love September hatched chicks for this reason. They start laying in February and lay up a storm until their first moult in fall.

    X2 [​IMG]
     

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