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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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A Round American Woman
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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!!!!! :rolleyes:

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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