winter molt

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sheila, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. Sheila

    Sheila In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2007
    NW MA
    Have read other posts on this subject and still am not sure of my answer.

    Our 25 RIRs are about 28 weeks old and have been laying for 8 of those. Last week we were getting more than 20 eggs a day, and then production dropped to maybe 15, today, 2.

    We had a couple of weeks of nicer weather (NW MA), then it got dreary again. This may be a factor. I'm thinking of turning off the light we were using to extend their day. Read somewhere that keeping it on will only extend the molt.

    They have had red butts, and we added d. earth to their bedding and roosts, but we have never actually seen any critters, even on close inspection. Does a molt ever begin on their back ends, or is this an entirely separate issue. Since adding the earth, they seem a little less red. On the other hand, I've watched one peck another's behind, so don't know how much that has to do with it.

    Question is, if this is a molt, how long should it last considering that it is just beginning and that days are getting longer.

  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    If they are pecking out feathers and molting, upping protein to 20% or so with a layer supplement will help them stop pecking AND make them go though moult much faster. I find some birds drop feathers like you opened a pillow case, and some just do a few here and there. I've had some take 3 weeks and some take 3 months to finish a molt.

    Turning off the lights and letting them rest is generally a good idea as they will finish faster and it will extend the amount of time they can lay so they don't burn out as fast.

    Good luck!
  3. I thought they molt at around 18 months?
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Mine are suffering some of the same problems. The nay sayers of early molting made me believe it might be something else. I have checked and dusted and looked and cleaned. There is no other explanation for what I am seeing. I believe some of my girls are going through their first molt due to the wacky weather patterns.
  5. Barnyard

    Barnyard Addicted to Quack

    Aug 5, 2007
    Southwest Georgia
    Well atleast I know I am not the only one going through this. My poor big momma is looking pretty shabby these day's. She is bare under her arms and breastbone and down her legs. You can see the feathers coming back in now.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] I said arms, lol!! I meant wings!
  6. Sheila

    Sheila In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2007
    NW MA
    Thanks all for the support. I don't feel nearly as alone now. Yesterday there were four eggs from my 24 girls. They are becoming even more precious all of a sudden. Now I have to break the news to the people who were buying some. I have five dozen in the house, and I think I'll have to ration them out to the family.

    Did notice missing feathers on backs near tails yesterday. I think this molt, if that is what it is, is due to weather change. Hopefully, with the light off and longer days, this won't last too long.

    I've had chickens before and never had them molt this young this time of year.
  7. I think mine is getting to much loving from my roo,Last nite DH and i rubbed josephine's back with Bag Balm since she was the only one that had a red back,I think she just doesn't run as fast as the other hens. I have 11 hens & get about10 eggs a day.

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