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Do I need to feed my chickens more protein during the molting process?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by eggsr4me, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. eggsr4me

    eggsr4me In the Brooder

    Aug 11, 2013
    I have read that protein helps with the regrowth of feathers and it is a good idea to increase the protein during the molting process.
    My chickens free range the yard everyday. With all the bugs, worms and insects they eat during the day, do I need to add more protein?


  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    One other thing to keep in mind is even if they free range you can't be sure what they are actually finding, what is available will really vary by time of year and how many chickens there are and how well they have picked the range over. To some extent it is personal preference, some people never up their protein, they just get 16% Layer all year. If they seem to be having a hard molt or are slow about it, or don't seem to be in good condition other than the feather loss, I prefer to. It does seem to get them back to laying sooner.
  3. eggsr4me

    eggsr4me In the Brooder

    Aug 11, 2013
    Thank you for your input. My one hen is having a hard molt, lost alot of feathers. The other one is loosing quite a bit too, but not as much as the one. The others are loosing feathers but are not looking too bad. I may try increasing the protein for a while.
  4. JerseyGiantfolk

    JerseyGiantfolk Crowing

    Jan 12, 2012
    There are a bunch of different things people do when it comes to feeding their birds that are in molt. Some people give their birds supplements, some people don't. Either way works, just as long as the birds have access to food.

    I like my birds with strong, healthy feathers, so I give them a supplement of B.O.S.S. (black oil sunflower seed), Calf Manna, kitten food, cracked corn, race horse oats, grit, and oyster shell; which is only 5% of their diet. I give it to them year round, but decrease the amount given when they aren't molting.
  5. eggsr4me

    eggsr4me In the Brooder

    Aug 11, 2013
    Thank you, I appreciate all the help. I am new to raising chickens and have a lot to learn. I may try some of the things you listed here.
  6. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Crowing

    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    I mix half game bird ration or meat bird ration with the layer ration. I tried Calf Manna years ago and chickens always refused it. Even then, if you use Calf Manna, use it sparingly as too much can make them sick. Methionine and Lysine amino acids are important during molt. So is vitamin/mineral supplementation. A good vitamin/mineral supplement like Avian Super Pack has the best balance of vitamins/minerals for water supplementation. I use 1/4 tsp per gallon and a 1/2 tsp of Probios dispersible powder during molt.
  7. eggsr4me

    eggsr4me In the Brooder

    Aug 11, 2013
    Thank you, sounds like this is something to add to their diet during their molting period.

  8. ShinShien

    ShinShien Crowing

    Oct 1, 2013
    Mine get about the same things, except no corn or oats. They get gamebird/showbird feed mixed into layer crumble and lots of yogurt soup. 1:1 ratio plain Greek yogurt and water.
  9. aggiemae

    aggiemae Songster

    Mar 18, 2012
    Salem Oregon
    I feed mine extra protein and some fat when they are molting especially if they are having what I call a "heavy" molt. We went away from Friday morning to Sunday evening and judging from the feather colors like our (of eight) started molting over the weekend) and two of them have already lost about 1/2 of their neck feathers. It's not a pretty sight.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
  10. farmchickutah

    farmchickutah In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2013
    With 60 hens this molting process is taking forever and it is getting in the 20s at night , so I wish they would hurry and get their feathers back. I don't think it is bothering them as much as it is me!

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