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Discussion Starter #1
I have a few RIRs, five hens and a roo. One hen was hatched out in July '13, the rest in late August '13. They started laying in late winter this year and have done a stellar job of being a fine flock.

Until recently.

I know that the first molt usually occurs when they're around 18 months old, the fall after their second spring. But what about dropping egg production and the few odd feathers when they're 14 and 15 months old? Is molting tied primarily to reducing light levels, or to age and development?

I suppose turning over the feathers in September beats the pants off trying it in December, but somehow I was caught off guard by this.

Other than diminishing supply, these chickens are wonderful. They get along with each other pretty darn well, and the rooster is (knock on wood) a gentleman. They're very healthy free ranging birds that are friendly and a pleasure to be with. My neighbor tells me the eggs are fertile, as I gave her a few to put under a broody banty this summer. They are under lights for sixteen hours a day, if I remember right.

Your thoughts and experiences?
 

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I have a few RIRs, five hens and a roo. One hen was hatched out in July '13, the rest in late August '13. They started laying in late winter this year and have done a stellar job of being a fine flock.

Until recently.

I know that the first molt usually occurs when they're around 18 months old, the fall after their second spring. But what about dropping egg production and the few odd feathers when they're 14 and 15 months old? Is molting tied primarily to reducing light levels, or to age and development?

I suppose turning over the feathers in September beats the pants off trying it in December, but somehow I was caught off guard by this.

Other than diminishing supply, these chickens are wonderful. They get along with each other pretty darn well, and the rooster is (knock on wood) a gentleman. They're very healthy free ranging birds that are friendly and a pleasure to be with. My neighbor tells me the eggs are fertile, as I gave her a few to put under a broody banty this summer. They are under lights for sixteen hours a day, if I remember right.

Your thoughts and experiences?
The molting birds are under lights for 16 hours? How long have they been under lights?

I was under the impression that using supplemental light for prolonged laying would interfere with molting? Can we add to ask, any thoughts on that?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The molting birds are under lights for 16 hours? How long have they been under lights?

I was under the impression that using supplemental light for prolonged laying would interfere with molting? Can we add to ask, any thoughts on that?
Other than the occasional power failure, they've been under lights most of their lives. It's just something I do. It's forever summer in my henhouse. ;)

Other flocks have molted in September/October regardless. They do keep laying; just in a diminished capacity. I also supplement protein in their diets at this time with mealworms and EVO herring and salmon cat food.
 

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Chickens are molting all the time in there first year or so of growth. Start out fuzzy then look like an old buzzard. Then their hackle feather will change next will be the saddle. There have been many studies on when and why they molt. And the findings are all over the place. But all the years I have bee raising them it starts around June. But I have had some hold off till the snow flies.
Some thing to keep in mind during the molt. They HATE to be handled they are in pain and burning up. I have seen a man fighter made out of some of the most docile roosters this way
 

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My whole lot of Chickens and Guineas are molting fools right now, except my yearling and two year old Guins, they haven't started yet. All of my 4-8 month old chickens and Guineas are blowing feathers every day. I could build a new flock out of all those feathers floating around down there!
 
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