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Old 09-18-2012, 09:46 AM   #1
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Default Molting...

This is my first year with chickens and I know * nothing * about molting...can you tell me what I need to know?? There must be other beginners that would like to know too! Thanks!! Jen

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Old 09-18-2012, 10:00 AM   #2
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Feathers are primarily made up from protein. So when a chicken molts they will need a higher level of protein in their diets to grow a whole new outfit. You can add sunflower seeds to their diet, a small amount of dry cat food or even buy a bag of the middle of the road "grower" pellets/crumbs and mix that in their feed during the molt.

Every single chicken molts a little differnt. Some will just lose a feather here and there, and you will see them laying all over, but she never really looks naked because she loses a few and grows a few, so the molt will last longer. Since she is working hard her comb may lose it's color and she may be a little more lethargic from a lack of energy.

Some hens will molt quickly. You close up the coop at night and have fully clothed hens, and in the morning you open the door to a snowstorm of feathers and several plucked and walking chicken dinners walk past you!!!!!

Usually the quick molters may keep laying through the winter, but I have found with my older hen flock that once they molt, they are done laying until Spring when the light returns. Right now I have two hens who are 6, A small amount of 3 year olds and the rest are 2 1/2 years old. They have followed this pattern. I don't expect many eggs this Winter. I had to buy some for my Christmas baking last year.

If you have Spring peeps, they will not molt that Fall, but will start molting the following summer and fall when they are 16 months or so. I have never gotten peeps later in the year, so I'm sure it may be different for people in the South who can get peeps at different times.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:54 AM   #3
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mine are in major moulting right now... feathers EVERYWHERE.. and the girls look horrible LOL.. plus im getting NO eggs!
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