Q. Hey Jordanne…Paul & Rebeca here. Just had a question about Leda & Lola. They are shedding their feathers right now. Is that normal. One more so than the other. They just flap their wings and the feathers fly. They are also pulling them out. I was wondering if it is a summertime thing? They have also slowed down egg production over the last week….Any info would really be appreciated. Thanks. Hope all is well. Paul & Rebeca
A. Leda & Lola sound like they have begun to molt. It’s a normal process they will go through about once a year and which usually begins in late May. They’re now considered to be full adults.
Domestic ducks normally change their feathers once a year, and laying stops or slows down during this period as the ducks’ energy is directed to growing new plumage.
During the molt, feathers become loose as the follicles in the skin become active and engorged with blood. The new feathers being formed push out the old ones. The primary purpose of molting is to replace old, worn-out feathers with new ones. The feather growing process requires a great deal of energy. Most molts begin with the loss of the innermost primary feathers on both wings. When about half the primaries are affected, it continues to the outermost secondary feathers on the wings. The bird then begins to molt body feathers, followed by the tail.
Interestingly, it has been reported that the ducks that were first to develop as ducklings are the ones that are first to molt as well. Most information about molting ducks (Khaki Campbells especially) is conflicting, but I think that explains why some ducks molt faster or earlier than others.
Mine aren’t molting yet, though I am expecting them to.
Leda and Lola should be in “full molt” by mid-June which means that you should expect more feathers to fly.
You don’t have to treat them much differently during this time. However, their bodies are under stress as they grow new feathers so if we experience a sudden cold day or night (not that it is likely…), make sure they are extra warm.
I also recommend raising the protein level up to about 20% during this time. The higher protein will promote good feather formation as they are mostly protein.
Give my love to the ladies.