Sudden Unexplained "Molt"


8 Years
Aug 28, 2011
First message here though I have learned a lot from everyone's advice. I have 6 Rhode Island Red and 6 Ameraucana pullets started all together in February so they are about 7 months old. They are the healthiest and happiest birds I have ever had (raised lots of chickens as a kid and just now back into it). We have been out of town since Friday afternoon and came home to four of the Ameraucanas appearing to have suddenly gone into molt. They are missing a lot of feathers on their back just in front of their tails. One you can see skin and the other three look to be just starting to lose feathers. They otherwise appear healthy. No agressive bahavior by any others towards them even when eating treats. No signs of predators. I do have a theory and wanted to check to see what everyone here thinks.

Last week (about Wednesday) I put in a Purina Flock Block. Thought nothing of it except that it would be a nice treat since they eat a lot of garden overflow (tomatoes, watermellon, etc) and the garden is pretty much finished for the year. I noticed they have not touched their regular laying crumble or oyster shell since then. Could a sudden change of diet or something in the flock block have caused this? The Reds seem fine and one of the Ameraucanas is broody right now so she isn't spending much time in the yard eating the block so she is ok. I read just now that a forced molt can occur if fed lots of oats, etc. Egg haul today was 6 brown and only 2 green which is not right either. I removed the remnants of the flock block (birds weren't happy). Any thoughts?

That could be it but this is the time of year they molt anyway so it could be merely coincidence. My flock always seemed to do that also, one day fine, the next day it looked like a chicken exploded in the coop.
My EE is doing the exact same thing--about 5 months old--none of my other breeds are...I have not changed food. Only thing is their schedule has been changed because I have been very ill and the rain that has been going on for the east coast--has not allowed me to let them into their "big" run. They have the coop and a "small" run. Which is fine for the number I have but--the "big" one is not covered with wire and the "small" one is. So besides those changes for the last week and half I don't know what to think. but she is growing feathers back and she has had no sores. If that helps you any...
No, unless their first set of feathers is still growing which finish out for me usually in 3-6 weeks. After their first feathers have grown in in my experience a bird of any age is able to molt in the fall. they are far old enough.

As for the eggs, some people claim that they just slow down laying, but mine have always stopped.

As said before, it is the normal time of year for them to molt, and maybe the feed just helped it along sooner. Anyway, best of luck, MW

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