What is molting?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickenluver555, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. chickenluver555

    chickenluver555 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What does it mean for a chicken to molt?

    I have noticed one of my hens is losing a lot of feathers around her neck and has stopped laying eggs! Is this molting? Or is she sick? PLEASE HELP
     
  2. RanchGirl13

    RanchGirl13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    she is just molting they stop laying because they put all their energy into producing new feathers you shouldn't worry my hens just went through this in the llast two months all spread out molting at different times
     
  3. CherishHolland

    CherishHolland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would also offer her a little more protein to help aid in the new feather growth. The only chicken I have that is old enough to molt is a Bantam Silver Duckwing Phoenix and he looks so so funny.
     
  4. jedgell

    jedgell Out Of The Brooder

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    You might also want to see if the others are picking on her and plucking her feathers. This can stress her to where she is not laying. Either way, extra protein, as previously recommended, will help her replace her feathers. Hopefully it is a normal moult where she is losing her feathers on her own and will start laying again once they are replaced.
     
  5. jtakacs

    jtakacs Out Of The Brooder

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    Do hens lay after molting?
     
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Molting is a process in which hens replace their feathers. Tattered, old feathers do not retain warmth, so they need to be replaced. Molting usually starts at the head and works it's way down the body. Feathers are almost entirely protein - so the hen needs to retain all her protein for feathers, and thus, cannot lay eggs. Their body weight can be drastically affected by molting as well. So once they get all their feathers back in, they need to get their body weight back up to a healthy level before they can resume laying. You can help the process along by giving high protein treats: mealworms, meat scraps, cooked eggs, some people use dry cat food also. (be careful as dry cat food has a lot of sodium)

    You can also see this thread:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/580915/for-the-new-folks-that-havent-experienced-a-molt-yet/0_50
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  7. chickenluver555

    chickenluver555 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay. I feel much better now! Do all hens do this?
     
  8. RanchGirl13

    RanchGirl13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Every single hen in the world does this
     
  9. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Yup, and roosters too.
     
  10. RanchGirl13

    RanchGirl13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    My roosters dont...
     

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