We just did a little article on how to feed molting chickens so I hope no one will mind if I post it here - it has some good info in it :
During molt, chickens typically stop laying eggs and use this time to build up their nutrient reserves. Even though they are not laying, it is critical that your chickens have a high quality diet during this time. Feeding a high quality ration through molt will help your birds get through the molting process and back to laying eggs as quickly as possible.
Top Tips For Feeding Through Molt
- Feed a 16% protein layer feed like NatureWise® or Country Feeds® that provide a complete vitamin and energy package for your birds
- Make feed available free choice
- Supplement with extra protein like sunflower seeds, cooked eggs, or peas during molt
- Limit scratch to 10% of diet during molt so you dont dilute the protein content of the ration
Molting and growing new feathers requires a lot of energy. Feathers are 85% protein so be sure your birds diet includes a highly nutritious feed like Nutrena NatureWise or Nutrena Country Feeds that consists of at least 16% protein. You dont need to add medications or other vitamins if youre feeding one of these feeds.
Just as your chickens have individual personalities, they will go through molt differently as well. Some lose a few feathers and grow them back in as quickly as 3-4 weeks. Other chickens lose a lot of feathers and take 12-16 weeks to grow them back.
Other tips for helping chickens get through molting:
- Reduce stress as much as possible, avoid bringing new birds into the flock if possible
- Chickens should act normal during their molt if they seem sick, something else is wrong
- Both roosters and hens go through molt