Two moults in 3 months: NORMAL? NOT? HELP!!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by pawsplus, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. pawsplus

    pawsplus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A few weeks ago I posted that Clarice (age 8, barred Rock alpha hen) appeared to be moulting AGAIN after just having been through a hard molt in late July. No one responded so I figured maybe I didn't need to worry about it.

    But now I kind of am. She's lost a lot of feathers, and has been acting EXACTLY how she acts when she's moulting--stopped laying (after starting back up following the July moult), refusing to come down from the high roosts or leave the coop unless I make her, seeming generally even more cranky than normal, etc. Then last night I saw that she was on a LOWER roost. That is really not like her. I was able to pick her up and move her to another roost--again, VERY abnormal, as she has NEVER, EVER let me touch her (she's basically a wild chicken). I've never tried at night like that before, but in the a.m. when I make them go outside (b/c in moult Clarice won't go, which means that no one ELSE will, either, LOL), I can lift Svetlana down and put her out the hole but if I just move towards Clarice she flies off the roost in hysterics and runs for the door.

    So I was REALLY worried. I got the carrier all ready and this a.m. I went in, put the young 'uns out, and reached up for Clarice. I got my hands on her but then she freaked and got away from me. She ran outside and went to pecking around for the oats I had tossed out just like normal.

    ????? Should I worry? Should I catch her no matter what it takes to get her to the vet, or should I assume that if I can't catch her, she must be OK?

    And has anyone EVER had a chicken moult 2x in 3 mos?? No one answered that before and I need to know if there is a non-disease reason possible for this!

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    I will try to put your mind at ease about one thing. When chickens roost at night, they are much easier to pick up, especially if it is fairly dark. Often it is advised to catch flighty chickens at night when they are roosting for that reason.

    I remember back in July a lot of people on the forum were mentioning their chickens were molting and noting that it was odd because they usually molted in the fall. Many figured it was because of the intense weather. I have heard that a molt can be forced by the owner if they really limit the food supply. I wonder if a lot of chickens were not eating much because it was so darn hot. That's all speculation of course.

    Maybe you will get more responses to the second molt in one year question, if it is part of the title up top for the thread after Index >> Emergencies....
     
  3. pawsplus

    pawsplus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    scratch'n'peck :

    I will try to put your mind at ease about one thing. When chickens roost at night, they are much easier to pick up, especially if it is fairly dark. Often it is advised to catch flighty chickens at night when they are roosting for that reason.

    Yeah, I do know that (and have taken advantage of it w/ other chooks). But Clarice has always acted really skittery when I come into the coop at night. I never tried to pick her up, but she acted like she thought I might. Clarice was just . . . unnaturally (for her) mellow last night. But this a.m. she seemed her old (if featherless!) self.
    I remember back in July a lot of people on the forum were mentioning their chickens were molting and noting that it was odd because they usually molted in the fall. Many figured it was because of the intense weather. I have heard that a molt can be forced by the owner if they really limit the food supply. I wonder if a lot of chickens were not eating much because it was so darn hot. That's all speculation of course.

    Mmm . . . maybe! If so, I hope people will post! If your chickens moulted in July are they doing it again now?

    Clarice being basically a wild chicken and still (after 6 years of my dancing attendance on her) hostile towards me, I know that going to the vet would be INCREDIBLY stressful for her. So I'm waffling about what the best thing is to do!​
     
  4. pawsplus

    pawsplus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ugh. Should I take this to mean that no one has ever experienced a chicken moulting twice in 3 mos?? That I really SHOULD be worried??
     
  5. PegramPoultryProprietor

    PegramPoultryProprietor Out Of The Brooder

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    My leghorn rooster molted earlier; lost his whole tail plus a lot of body feathers. About the same time the hens seemed to be molting as well; say a couple of months ago. Now the leghorn hens are loosing their tails; they didn’t before. My Brahma roosters lost their tails earlier; they are already half way back in, but I never noticed much molting from the hens. Not sure what my point is other than every bird is a little different sometimes even between the roos and hens. Not knowing how old your birds are. From hatching, they loose their down and get their first feathers, then they molt those around 5 to 6 months, then they have a molt the fall after their first full year. Have you checked for mites or other parasites.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  6. pawsplus

    pawsplus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Clarice is 8 years old (I did mention that in my original post [​IMG]). She is very healthy--no parasites, recent negative fecal, etc.
     
  7. AV Brahmas

    AV Brahmas Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, I scanned the answers above and I will give a few thoughts.

    -Assuming there are no mites or lice, right? Something that would tend to give her the appearance of a moult?

    -She is the only one? She is also getting old. Any chance it is just the ratty plumage of an aging bird?

    -Have you been manipulating a light source at all? Keeping them closed in darkness for some reason or extending the light in the building with lamps or such? You can trigger a molt by manipulating environment in some situations.

    Just some thoughts.
     
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    My chickens usually molt in the fall, too. This year, they molted earlier. We also had a hotter than usual summer. I was even taking ice water out to them several times a day for a few days, which I don't normally do. They all made it through, but you could see they were stressed by the heat more than they usually are. I'm wondering if that was why they molted earlier this year.

    Now, mine haven't gone through another big molt again, but chickens are all different. What I would do is make sure she has the best nutrition you can give her and that she's getting optimum protein for growing out new feathers.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the other responses on this thread, too.
     
  9. pawsplus

    pawsplus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:She's 8, but plenty of chickens make it to 15--and she looked AMAZING both before her first moult and before her second (i.e., just last month). So they were clear moults both times, with feathers growing in normally in between. She's a very nice looking girl normally and since 8 isn't really that old I doubt this is the problem . . .

    She's not the only one--I have 3 hens and a rooster. Oh, maybe you meant the only one moulting? Yes. Last year she moulted in Oct. but Svetlana did not. Svetlana moulted last year in late summer (about when she did this year, when Clarice also moulted).
    -Have you been manipulating a light source at all? Keeping them closed in darkness for some reason or extending the light in the building with lamps or such? You can trigger a molt by manipulating environment in some situations.

    I don't do that at all, no. Nothing has changed other than the days getting shorter naturally. Last year she moulted in Oct. so this is "normal" for her--what wasn't normal was the July moult, but both she and Svetlana moulted then (not just Clarice).

    The only NEW thing is the 2 Young 'Uns (Bianco and Audrey), who arrived a few months ago. They were in strict quarantine for a month, then spent 3 weeks in a pen NEXT to Svetlana and Clarice's pen, and once everyone seemed OK w/ that, they were introduced. Bianco is only 16 weeks old and hasn't tried to mate with anyone (so don't blame him!), and they all seem to get along well. Clarice bosses them all as she always has.​
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  10. AV Brahmas

    AV Brahmas Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:She's 8, but plenty of chickens make it to 15--and she looked AMAZING both before her first moult and before her second (i.e., just last month). So they were clear moults both times, with feathers growing in normally in between. She's a very nice looking girl normally and since 8 isn't really that old I doubt this is the problem . . .

    She's not the only one--I have 3 hens and a rooster. Oh, maybe you meant the only one moulting? Yes. Last year she moulted in Oct. but Svetlana did not. Svetlana moulted last year in late summer (about when she did this year, when Clarice also moulted).
    -Have you been manipulating a light source at all? Keeping them closed in darkness for some reason or extending the light in the building with lamps or such? You can trigger a molt by manipulating environment in some situations.

    I don't do that at all, no. Nothing has changed other than the days getting shorter naturally. Last year she moulted in Oct. so this is "normal" for her--what wasn't normal was the July moult, but both she and Svetlana moulted then (not just Clarice).

    The only NEW thing is the 2 Young 'Uns (Bianco and Audrey), who arrived a few months ago. They were in strict quarantine for a month, then spent 3 weeks in a pen NEXT to Svetlana and Clarice's pen, and once everyone seemed OK w/ that, they were introduced. Bianco is only 16 weeks old and hasn't tried to mate with anyone (so don't blame him!), and they all seem to get along well. Clarice bosses them all as she always has.​

    In that case I guess I would probably just say to watch and see how the molt goes. If she feathers in normally I would just let it go and see if she repeats it next year. It may be nothing more than an interesting reaction to one of the most unique weather years we have had. At least around here. Keep an eye on them.
     

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