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Too young to moult?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by krickets, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. krickets

    krickets Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 4, 2011
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    Of my 4 ten month old pullets, 2 of them are looking rough and losing a lot of feathers around the neck and tail, mostly. I didn't think they would moult this winter. Is that the most likely explanation, or should I be watching for something else?

    They haven't been laying for a month and a half, since I haven't supplemented their light or heat. So I can't use that as an indicator.
    Their coop is insulated, but It's been -15 to -20 C average lately, with about 8 hours of daylight. (during which I am mostly at work, so not really able to observe their behavior). I wasn't able to get a photo before they went in or the night, but I'll try tomorrow.

    Any ideas of what the cause might be, or what I should do to help them out? I feel like they must be really missing those feathers right about now!
     
  2. mcjessen

    mcjessen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have no advice other than to say I was having the same problem with two of my Buff Orpington's who were about 8 months old. Sadly, they passed away - one in October (6 mos) and one this past Sunday. I have absolutely no idea why. I thought they were moulting because they stopped laying in September but weren't showing any other signs at that point. The one that passed recently HAD started to show new feather growth in the last couple weeks. They'd only been laying for a few weeks. I wormed, I gave vitamins, I gave antibiotics, brought them each inside on separate occasions to care for them but never had a reason for their passing. They had plenty of light, healthy food and fresh water. I'm not telling you this to be a downer, but to share my experience. It's frustrating that hearty birds didn't last as long as I expected. I wish you the best of luck. I think sometimes, we just never know why they do what they do.

    edited because of spelling & grammar
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    The molt at 4 months is a function of age/maturation rather than season. They are at time the juvenile feather set is being replaced by the first adult feather set. Replacement of the first adult feather set will be seasonal as you expect.
     
  4. krickets

    krickets Out Of The Brooder

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    Alberta, Canada
    Quote:I think you misunderstood. My chickens are ten months old, and there are 4 of them.
     
  5. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My 2nd group of pullets are 8mo old and 2 of them are doing a partial moult (Dominique & Cuckoo Maran) Like yours, it is mainly tail and neck feathers and this happened to me last year as well - some of the new pullets moulted while others didn't. Unless you see some signs of illness I am guessing it's OK.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:I think you misunderstood. My chickens are ten months old, and there are 4 of them.

    Ten monh old birds should be wrapping up molt, not starting. Pen feathers evident in exposed areas? If no, then molt not cause of feather loss.
     
  7. krickets

    krickets Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 4, 2011
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    Do you mean pin feathers? I'll check for them in the morning, and maybe take a picture if it would be helpful.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:Yes, pin feathers.
     
  9. WTB Seramas

    WTB Seramas Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 15, 2011
    my 7 month old JG's are moulting now.
     
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Chickens do go through a sort of mini-molt at 9-10 months of age. It's not the BIG one, but it's a molt nonetheless. Most of the time, it's not all that noticeable, usually around their neck area, but I've had a few who actually lost a fair amount of weight on occasion.

    All chickens go through stages from chickhood to adulthood where they lose feathers in stages as they get their adult plumage.
     

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