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Molting Chickens – It’s What They Do

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Molting Chickens

Molting Chicken

It is completely natural for Molting Chickens to sheds the old feathers and allows for new feathers to grow, much like a reptile sheds its skin. You can disinfect your pen at this time but not because molting chickens need it, it is because it should be done at least once a year.

It happens about once a year and your chickens may see a little off color when this happens if they are layers, they will probably stop laying too.

If you find your chickens without feathers it does not necessarily mean they have been a victim of aggressive behavior, although it is best to keep and eye on them to be sure they are actually experiencing a molt.

Molting chickens takes place in a fairly orderly fashion from top to bottom; head, neck, body, wings and tail. The birds have a pretty hard time, much like a dog in season on a human with PMS, because this is a hormonal fluctuation and it also takes more energy to overcome.

The Cycle Molting Chickens

The molting chickens cycle takes about seven weeks to complete fully and chickens which are bred for the specific purpose of egg production have a definite pattern for this. They will molt after an extended and intensive laying spell.

For example, if they are laying intensively for a year or longer, they will normally molt in Autumn. If they finish laying in spring, they will wait till the fall to molt as this is the natural time for this to take place. In some birds this happens sooner, in other later, in some birds it takes longer, while in others it is a faster process.

It all depends on the age and breed of the bird and in fact what they are bred for. However decreasing day length is the most usual trigger for this. It is important to keeps your chickens comfortable during molting and eliminate any stress.

They need a high quality diet and an environment with an even temperature. It is also beneficial to spray them with a fine mist or at the very least provide them with a pan where they can bathe and preen.

Facts About Molting Chickens

If your birds are pets or a backyard flock, any unnecessary stress may trigger a molt out of season this includes unusual changes in temperature, illness, a change in their lighting program or a shortage of food and water.

Chickens and/or molting chickens make very good people pets; they have a real rapport with the human species, perhaps because they have been domesticated for such a long time.

They interact with people emotionally, just like your pet dog and cat do, and are subject to the same trauma as any other pet would be. They are generally well adjusted but can also be little terrorists too.

If your chicken is molting out of turn and you suspect that it is anything but a normal annual molting chicken, please take them to your vet.

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