When can molt occur?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by xjonesy, May 14, 2010.

  1. xjonesy

    xjonesy In the Brooder

    Feb 13, 2009
    I posted earlier this week that my White leghorn has stopped laying and someone suggested perhaps she was going through molt. She is just barely 1 year old and did not molt in the fall, so she's never molted. What is molt like -- does she lose a lot of feathers? How long does molt take, when should she start laying again? And when can molt occur -- can it occur right now during the spring?

    Thank you.
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Free Ranging Staff Member Premium Member 9 Years

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    2 of mine started molting at 9 months old. It starts with them losing feathers on their head then down their neck. My buttercup molted more harshly than my BR did. Mine both took 3 months to start laying again, but the good news is the eggs got bigger after molt.

    As for molting in spring, I don't know.
  3. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Songster

    Sep 4, 2009
    One of my 5 had a mini-molt at 7 months old. And her eggs were really nice & big when she started laying again. Their first BIG molt is usually around 18 months old or so. That's when they lose all their feathers. But any BIG stress can also trigger a molt. And any stress has the potential to stop egg-laying, for a time, while the hen re-adjusts to the "new situation".

    Yours may be taking a break, for some reason. Have you had a predator attack recently? Change of location of the coop, etc.? New additions to the flock? Noisy construction nearby?

    I have a barely 1 year old hen that was very good layer throughout all the winter. Then she suddenly stopped mid-March and became an irregular layer ever since. I think her shell gland has been undergoing some maintenance. Give yours a little more protein, in the form of fish scraps or a little bit of dry cat food. And give her some time. If she's looking healthy, it may just be time that she needs.

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