Easy Tips for Molting Chickens + Recipe

October 09, 2018

Easy Tips for Molting Chickens + Recipe

4 EASY TIPS TO HELP YOUR MOLTING CHICKENS

Finally, fall is upon us. For us humans, it’s sweater weather, changing leaves, cozy socks, and pumpkin spice lattes {I'll take mine with a splash!}. For your chickens, it’s molting season! During this time of year, chickens will shed their feathers and new ones will grow in their place, just in time for the cold winter months. It seems counter intuitive but Mother Earth has her reasons. 

You’ll know it’s molting season if your flock’s plumage looks considerably thin, scraggly and there are feathers all about your coop and run + hens’ egg production drops significantly (or stops altogether). Molting is stressful and tiring for your chickens so you will likely even notice a change in the way they act. {aka: bitchy, withdrawn, lower in the pecking order than normal, more apt to screeching, etc}. Normally, the molting process lasts eight to twelve weeks, but by following these simple tips, you can help your flock get through their molt and possibly even speed up the process.

1. Keep the Coop Clean
Keeping their coop clean is where I suggest you start. During molting season, their coop will become littered with feathers quickly and frequently, so make sure to be proactive in keeping their space as clean and tidy as possible. I try to remember to save a few pretty feathers from year-to-year.  Also, do your best make sure the coop is comfortable and well-ventilated. A hot stuffy coop is a breeding ground for ickies.  

2. Avoid Over-Handling
Try to avoid handling your chickens as much as possible. Handling your chickens during their molt can be painful to them, especially when their pin feathers begin to emerge from their exposed skin. Give your chickens time and space for their plumage to grow in. Beautiful and healthy feathers are developing!

3. Feed Them a High-Protein Diet
Providing your flock with high-protein, nutrient-rich foods is arguably the best thing you can do to get them through molting season. Feed them fewer snacks that are low in protein, such as cheep scratch, fruits, and vegetables. Since their feathers are comprised of approximately 85% protein, your hens’ egg production stops simply because they don’t have enough protein and other vital nutrients to produce them.

Recently, on the Treats For Chickens Instagram, I showcased my recipe for “Molt Mender”, a treat you can put together at home.  It's high in protein, good fats, calcium, and other nutrients made from our organic, pesticide-free, and non-GMO products.  It's designed to help get your chickens through their molt. Watch me on Instagram, in the story highlight titled “Molt Mender” here!

4. No New Additions to the Flock
Lastly, avoid adding new chickens to your flock. New additions to the group lead to unease and changes in the pecking order. Molting gives them enough stress to deal with as it is!

Molting season can be a difficult time for your flock, but by following these tips, your chickens get through it with ease. For more awesome ideas to keep your flock happy, check out other items in the blog.

MOLT MENDER RECIPE:

Ingredients:

 Step 1:

Ground Beef Oyster Shells and Mealworm Delight

Step 2:

Step 3:

Mix and mash all of all of these ingredients together and separate them into meatball-sized portions. Serve one ball/patty for every three chickens per day. Freeze the extra portions and thaw before serving.

PRO TIP: I store mine in the freezer in tinfoil with FOR THE CHICKENS scribbled across the top (in marker pen) to keep my family from thinking these are human cookies. 




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