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When should I expect 1st molt?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mountainbunny, Jan 20, 2017.

  1. mountainbunny

    mountainbunny Songster

    May 26, 2016
    Central Arkansas
    I'm still fairly new to chickens and have a mixed flock all about 8 months old. 1 barred Rock roo, 2 barred hens, 2 BO hens, and one mixed breed (or possibly black sex link) hen. I'm clueless about molting. should I expect as the signs of the start of molting? What age does it usually start? ANYTHING you can share with me about the whole process is greatly appreciated!
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017

  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Molting is what your birds had been doing the entire time growing up. Minni molts through growth and you no doubt noticed times where there was a lot of feathers lying about. A bunch of mini molts. Come next fall into winter will be the first annual molt. Some birds experience a hard molt where feather loss is dramatic and they are nearly completely bald, others so gradual you don't notice it much on the bird but see feathers all the time lying around. They will replace all feathers once a year at that time (late fall to early winter) and the time it takes to complete can be from a few months to four depending on bird. During molt egg production plummets if not dries up all together. Again it's individual bird dependent the egg production during molt and how long that low or no eggs will last.
  3. Shezadandy

    Shezadandy Songster

    Sep 26, 2015
    Portland OR
    We've had mixed results on age at first molt, i.e. after they've started laying- so far all that have molted have done it fall/early winter.

    One (Australorp) molted while she was raising her chicks (1yr, 3mo), then started laying again for the winter.
    The other Australorp (1yr, 3mo) has yet to take a break or show any signs of molting. The one on the left with the bleached out feathers hasn't molted. The black bird on the right has molted. You can also see the freshly molted speckled at the top and a corner of her "sister" at the bottom. One of my Speckled Sussex stopped laying and is molting, the other shows no sign and is still laying (1yr, 3mo).


    Neither of my Barred Rocks have stopped laying or molted. (1yr, 3mo)
    Neither of my Buff Orpingtons have stopped laying or molted. (1yr, 3mo)
    Both of my EE's stopped laying and are molting. (1yr, 3mo)

    One of my Welsummers molted after she'd gone broody (but rejected the chicks) (8 mo)- so she stopped for a couple months but started laying for the winter. The other (same age) is still laying, no molt. The Golden Laced Wyandotte (8mo) is still laying, no sign of molt. The Super Blues- one stopped laying, isn't molting (8mo) and the other has not stopped laying and isn't molting either.

    So... "it depends"... not helpful, I know- you'll find piles of feathers and a silly looking, often tail-less chicken- the eggs will probably stop. At some point they'll take a break- there are a couple I really wish would, though having those extra large eggs is great.

  4. I had some go through a hard molt last year where I was so worried it was something worse. Lots of feathers in the coup, bald patches, the combs went really pale on the orpingtions. The roo lost most of his tail feathers. I have had chickens for some time but never seen them molt like that before. All came through it fine and looked like new chickens afterwards.
  5. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Songster

    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio
    We got our chickens in spring 2015, they loose feathers as they grow and mature. They had their first 'hard' molt (looked like there was a pillow fight in the coop!) in fall 2016.
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri

    Your current 8 month old birds will go through their first annual molt starting late summer - early fall of 2017. Process will be completed in anywhere from 60 to 120 days once is starts. Depending on genetics, you may see gradual replacement of wing flight feathers starting in the latter half of spring where that process will be completed at about the same time the balance of the feathers are replaced.
  7. mountainbunny

    mountainbunny Songster

    May 26, 2016
    Central Arkansas
    Thanks for all the replies!

  8. chickosdy

    chickosdy In the Brooder

    Jan 21, 2017
    My Rhode Island red went into molting after she was attacked by a bull dog. She would not come out of the coop for about 4 days. We had to physically bring her out myself. She was in distress. That sent her into molting due to her not getting any sun light for those 4 days. She is almost done. Her last egg was December 2nd. she is about 10 ninths old. When they are fearful and have been attacked by predators, It can send them into the molting process.
  9. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    It should be next fall. Signs? It will look like a pillow exploded in your yard and you will start counting heads to make sure everyone is there.
  10. mountainbunny

    mountainbunny Songster

    May 26, 2016
    Central Arkansas
    Thanks! I'm sure y'all will here from me again when they do start a hard molt.... Freaking out about what's going on. :p I love my babies. My BO hens seem to be loosing a few tiny feathers on there saddle area (I guess that's what it's called) right now, but it's nothing that major.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017

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