Why do my chickens never molt?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Eggs4Sale, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
    In 11 years of raising chickens, we've never had one look like it was molting. Why?

    Is it because we have such mild winters here?

    What triggers a molt?
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    My experience with my chickens has been this- my Wyandottes have all gone through a hard molt this year and looked terrible, whereas my Giants have molted but only looked slightly bedraggled without the extensive, rapid and radical feather loss of the former. If it weren't for the Wyandottes I may not have even noticed that the Giants were molting. The chicken that molted first was under a good amount of stress from being broody all spring and summer and she shed out about 6 weeks before the rest of the flock although they are all the same age (2 y.o.). I live in an area where there are harsh winters. I, too, am curious about molting. Part of it is age-related I know, but what triggers a hard molt? And why do some birds never seem to go through a hard molt and instead go through mini-molts a couple times a year? Any experts out there?
  3. LovinMyHensInNC!

    LovinMyHensInNC! Chillin' With My Peeps

    I wonder this, too. I have three Black Australorps all the same age. One is currently going through a very hard molt and the other two have hardly lost any feathers! Beats me!
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Only going by what I've read...but I think some can molt so gradually that it's hardly noticeable at all...
  5. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    Yeah, that's my chickens too! There are feathers everywhere in the run, but I have to examine the feathers closely to figure out where they are coming from. That, and the fact some are not laying a bit, they must be molting, but they sure don't look it. [​IMG]
  6. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
    So do chickens need to reach a certain age to molt?

    Does their birthday trigger the molt, or the season?

    Or do chickens molt when and if they darn well feel like it?
  7. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chickens will go through a kind of continual molt as they mature, losing a few feathers at a time and growing bigger ones.

    Once they reach maturity they molt about once a year. It's severity depends on genetics. Some high production breeds are geared toward a more severe molt. In a commercial setting the molt is also helped along by human intervention, restricting food and light for several days.

    I'm not sure exactly what triggers it, I'd guess the changing of the seasons. I know it's not a calendar thing because my girls molt at different times each year. I wonder about chickens living around the equator, I'm sure they molt, but how do they tell when? [​IMG]

    I really don't think they have any control over when they molt, like laying it has to be regulated by hormones and such.
  8. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
    Hey, Ella, you hit a 1000 posts!

    And your avatar made me imagine your words coming from the chicken. I don't know, it's probably just me. [​IMG]
  9. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Lol, yeah, I guess I should post more, I've been on this board since it started and the last two BYC's too! [​IMG]

    BTW the picture is Ella, and she is very wise. [​IMG]
  10. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
    Well, Ella knows a lot about molting. Maybe she has had a little experience with it. Or maybe her pet human has told her about it.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by