What all can cause molting?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Cowgirl71, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    I'm posting this for a friend... Hopefully I put it in the right section!

    A friend of mine has 10 SLWs, 10 Buff Orps, 2 RSLs (all will be two years old in March); and 10 Barred Rocks, and 10 Cherry Eggers (which will be one year old in March.) All of the older birds began to molt in September and are just about done molting, which I know is very normal for their age. But in November the BRs and CEs started molting too. My friend wants to know why. She takes excellent care of her birds, feeds them high dollar feed, and keeps them very healthy. For the last couple months she's been getting about four eggs a day from all of these hens. She also hatched some Coturnix Quail in October, and recently moved most of the males into another pen to be fattened and kept away from the females. Those extra males soon after being moved went into a molt. The females and two males left in their pen for breeding are not molting. So what are the possible causes for molting? I'm thinking it was stress from being moved into a new area. Her husband built a new coop in November and they moved all of the chickens into it (to make room for some OEGBs they had bought). Soon after, the BRs and CEs went into a molt. I'm thinking it was caused by stress from being moved, but I wanted to ask the experts! So what do ya'll think? (Feel free to ask questions!)

    Thanks! [​IMG]
  2. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2010
    Northeast Texas
    I think it is not only due to their age, but to day length too.
  3. patvetzal

    patvetzal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 12, 2008
    Bancroft, Ontario
    I've always thought that even with artificial lights a hen has to molt sometimes.
    What I'd like to know is how long it takes before they start laying again? I've got three hens and a roo, two white ones and one red(had two reds, but lost one to a hawk). They are under a flourescent light (14hrs) and our winter has been mild, only a few nights below -25C.
    Back in early Dec the two white ones started dropping feathers and have only given one egg in the past 30 days. The red one still gives 6 eggs/week. They still look fully fledged, but there are lotsa white feathers on the coop floor.
    How long does this go on? Before the molt started we were getting 2-3 eggs/day, since we got them (used) last spring.
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Some of mine are under a year old and are molting as well, just not as badly as the older ones. But yes, stress can also trigger a molt.
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    And to supplement Dawn's post.

    Kansas State feather loss

    Stress was not mentioned in the article, but it can cause a molt. Instead of full molts, these are often partial or mini-molts. Something that often causes unseasonal molts is them running out of water for a while. I even had an Australorp that hatched chicks in late August go into molt while she was raising the chicks. She had finished her molt and was back to laying eggs before some of the others started molting. It was nice getting one large adult egg a day when the others shut down.

    Pullets less than a year old when fall hits do not always molt. I've had some start laying in late September and not molt until the following year, laying the whole time.
  7. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    Thanks everyone! [​IMG]

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