chicken moult : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Will someone explain when chickens molt and what the molt looks like. My hens began losing feathers on the tail area and the front of the neck months ago. I thought they had mites because I have a large wild bird population that flies in and out of the chicken yard. I dusted them twice and thoroughly sprayed the hen house. It made no difference. This continued for months. Egg production did not slack until a couple of months ago. However, now that really cold weather has arrived, the feathers are returning and egg production has risen considerably.

-- Cheryl Cox (, December 30, 1999



I am not really experienced - had my chickens for about a year and a half. I don't use artificial light and am in northern Calif. and notice that most of the birds will moult starting in the fall and lasts for a month or two - during which egg production drops dramatically. What you described is moulting - really scroungy looking, rooster looses tail feathers, etc. As I understand it this is a time of "renewal" for them, probably resting repro organs, storing calcium in bones (?), and they will start laying like gangbusters again in the spring. Winter is naturally a really lean time for eggs. So, relax and before long you will be amazed at how many eggs you have again!



-- Kristi (, January 02, 2000.

My mother's chickens started losing feathers and not knowing if it was caused by molting, she thought it might have been caused by a lack of protein. One suggestion was to throw some handfuls of cat food out like scratch grain. This she did and the chickens recovered quickly.

-- Mary Lea Tucker (, March 12, 2000.

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