Why aren’t my hens molting?

K0k0shka

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Are you finding feathers in the coop or run? If they do a soft molt, it's very gradual and you may not notice it on the bird itself, just from the feathers. Though if it's really slow and gradual, and only a couple feathers here and there over a long period of time, even that may not be very noticeable. My DSL Barnevelders did an extremely gradual soft molt that started in July. I'd find a feather or two here and there, and no eggs from them. It took them 3 months (!!!) but they are pretty much done with the molt now. They never had bare patches or looked raggedy. Very stealthy! My Orps, on the other hand, drop whole bunches and have naked patches, but are done with the whole thing faster.

Do you have light in the coop by any chance? If you provide supplemental light, their bodies may not be getting the signal that it's time to molt, since that's tied to the length of the day.

NN are great for hot climates,, as they tolerate HEAT better than other breeds.
I always wondered what they do in cold climates. Do people knit scarves for them? :lol: Other naked body parts like combs and feet have evolved to withstand winter without feathers and have mechanisms for doing that. The neck, on the other hand, has not evolved to be naked in cold winters, so it can't be good for them... Maybe they stay hunched and huddled a lot, so the feathers from the rest of their body cover the neck some?
 

MTKitty

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If you need molted feathers to plant a suggestion, I can help. I do a head count out of the coop each morning because it always looks like someone exploded (minus the blood and guts, of course) in there overnight.
 

TheOddOneOut

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Are you finding feathers in the coop or run? If they do a soft molt, it's very gradual and you may not notice it on the bird itself, just from the feathers. Though if it's really slow and gradual, and only a couple feathers here and there over a long period of time, even that may not be very noticeable. My DSL Barnevelders did an extremely gradual soft molt that started in July. I'd find a feather or two here and there, and no eggs from them. It took them 3 months (!!!) but they are pretty much done with the molt now. They never had bare patches or looked raggedy. Very stealthy! My Orps, on the other hand, drop whole bunches and have naked patches, but are done with the whole thing faster.

Do you have light in the coop by any chance? If you provide supplemental light, their bodies may not be getting the signal that it's time to molt, since that's tied to the length of the day.


I always wondered what they do in cold climates. Do people knit scarves for them? :lol: Other naked body parts like combs and feet have evolved to withstand winter without feathers and have mechanisms for doing that. The neck, on the other hand, has not evolved to be naked in cold winters, so it can't be good for them... Maybe they stay hunched and huddled a lot, so the feathers from the rest of their body cover the neck some?
We don’t supplement light.
One of mine is doing a slow molt. I’m finding white wing feathers every now and then.
But the SS dropped like 352000 feathers at once.
 

K0k0shka

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We don’t supplement light.
One of mine is doing a slow molt. I’m finding white wing feathers every now and then.
But the SS dropped like 352000 feathers at once.
Everybody has their own way of molting :lol: Which is fine most of the time, until it's not. Unfortunately with domestic animals we can't say "nature knows what she's doing" and trust that their bodies will do the right thing at the right time. We have messed with their genetics too much for them to be reliably self-sufficient anymore. Wild birds will molt at the correct time and be fine (because they'll die off if they don't), but chickens... can afford to do whatever, because their people will take care of them if they fail, and will allow them to procreate anyway, bad genetics and all (what's bad genetics in terms of molting time may not be considered bad enough if the bird has other qualities the humans want, so they select for what they want, all else be damned). There are chickens that molt at the absolute worst time and freeze to death. The weather is also more unpredictable than it used to be. So do keep an eye on them and if they start blowing their coats and showing naked skin, and you have a particularly nasty cold snap coming, consider bringing the naked ones into a basement or something at night until they cover up.
 

cavemanrich

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I always wondered what they do in cold climates. Do people knit scarves for them? :lol:
I know that many of my friends in Arizona preferred the NN since it gets pretty warm during summer... TRIPLE DIGITS. :old :mad:
I suppose some turtle neck type clothing would work in cold climates. There are chicken sweaters available on line for all the rest of the hens.
My 3 hens are the same age as the OP's, (18 months) and I see no sign of molting, either. We don't use artificial light anywhere.

I just really want them to get it over with before the weather starts getting cold.
If you read my previous post with pix,,, my RIR molted in the Spring. It is very possible your chickens may wait until spring also.:idunno
 

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