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When do they have...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ruth Ann, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. Ruth Ann

    Ruth Ann Songster

    Apr 13, 2010
    South Carolina
    When do the chickens have their first molt?
    I have some that are around 16 months.
    Will it be soon.
    They are starting to look a little ragged from picking at each other.
    Hope they will get new feathers soon.

  2. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Songster

    Feb 18, 2011
    I hear around September but I'm sure it varies some per climate. My girls had a molt in April/May so I'm hoping they won't go through a molt again this year.
  3. hcppam

    hcppam Songster

    good to know. [​IMG]
  4. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Crowing

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    Chickens usually molt after at least one year of laying. Great layers will molt a little later. If your chicken starting laying at 5 months old, they would generally molt between 16 (poor layer, less than a year of laying) and 18 months old or more. It varies, but does not go by the season, but by their age. A chicken hatched in January will molt at a different time than a chicken hatched in May.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    These two links give some good information on molting and what causes it. There are even a few sketches! What could be better?

    Mississippi State describes molting

    Kansas State feather loss

    Chicks will go through two juvenile molts before they reach maturity. They grow so fast they outgrow their feathers and need to replace them. I usually can't tell when they are going through a juvenile molt by looking at them, but there are suddenly feathers everywhere. It varies some but mine usually have their first juvenile molt around 9 weeks and the second around 14 weeks.

    Many times chickens will not have their first adult molt the first fall. Pullets often skip the molt the first fall and keep laying throughout the winter, not molting until the nest fall. But a few do. Many first time chicken owners see their pullets laying through their first winter and think this is the norm for every winter. It is not the norm. They'll go through a molt the following fall/winter.

    Many different things can cause a molt. The normal one is that when the days get shorter, they shut down egg production and they molt. Instead of laying eggs and trying to raise chicks in the bad weather, they use the energy that was going into egg production and raising chicks to grow new feathers instead.

    But the days getting shorter is not all that can cause a molt. Stress can start one. It may not be as complete as the normal fall molt, but it is still a molt and egg production can drop or stop. One common thing that starts a molt is to run out of water. I don't mean run out of water for a few minutes, but long enough to really weaken their bodies. Even the stress of a predator attack or moving to a new location can start a minimolt. Anything that causes stress.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
  6. Ruth Ann

    Ruth Ann Songster

    Apr 13, 2010
    South Carolina
    Thanks for the info!!

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