As the length of sunlit days are getting shorter, it probably seems like the number of feathers on the ground in and around your coop is increasing. You are not losing your mind. However, your chickens are losing their feathers! They are going through their annual molting process, a ritual that happens each year during late summer and early fall when the birds replace their old, disheveled feathers with new.
Like egg production, molt is triggered by the number of sunlight hours. So, you will likely see a decrease in egg production at the same time as molt occurs. The duration of molt will last anywhere from four weeks up to 12 weeks. Here are three considerations to help your girls cope with this stressful time in their lives.
Feathers consist of 85% protein. Therefore, as they are losing old feathers and growing new, their nutritional needs are increased. Be sure to provide them the best diet you can, such as a supplement like Backyard Boost® Daily Essentials, which has protein to help replenish and nourish your chicken during this time, and year-round. This pelleted protein supplement for poultry that is designed to maximize digestibility and egg production is fully fortified with the research-proven prebiotic, AO-Biotics® Amaferm®, vitamins, minerals and organic trace minerals to maximize growth and egg production and support overall flock health. Amaferm enhances digestibility, aiding in the overall nutrition of the flock.
Provide Clean Water
Water is the most essential nutrient for every living being, and it helps eliminate stress. Be sure to provide your girls with fresh, clean water at least once a day. Especially during molt and times of stress, add Backyard Boost Defense to their water. Backyard Boost Defense is a liquid supplement for poultry designed to support digestion and a healthy immune response. In addition to Amaferm, it contains electrolytes to support hydration and MOS to help normalize the gut microflora and support the immune system.
Keep them Comfortable
Especially as the fall weather turns cooler and the chickens are in between feathers, they will require some extra TLC. Consider extra bedding like straw that they can nest into. If they are losing their feathers as the temperatures turn even colder, consider a coop heater. Be cautious of the temperature (as you don’t want to make them too hot). Also be mindful of potential fire hazards. Experts also advise against sweaters for chickens during the molting stage as their new pin feathers are sensitive and the pressure of the sweater could cause extra pain and stress.
In addition, be sure to mitigate any additional stress by keeping a routine, not introducing new animals to the flock and maintaining as much normalcy as you can. Less overall stress in general can also help with overall egg production.
Molting is a natural occurrence that will happen annually for your flock. While your chickens are going through the stress of changing their feathers, keep them feeling their best, keep them healthy and keep them laying with good nutrition, added protein, plenty of water and extra warmth and bedding.
Boost their nutrition and keep their stress at a minimum with Backyard Boost. Learn more and discover where to buy these products at www.backyardboost.co.