Feeding while Moulting questions!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by 23missb, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. 23missb

    23missb Hatching

    Jul 17, 2012
    Please bear with me, I have read through a bunch of the information regarding what to feed your hens while moulting, but I would like some advice still please.

    Our girls seemed to be doing fine, eating normally, until we changed their feed to pellets. They seem to be eating a lot less now, but I'm not sure if they are just wasting less or really eating less. It is cold here so they aren't out of their coop daily, but when it is nice enough, we open it up and have spread some shavings on the ground so they are comfortable (there is a lot of snow here), and they come out and enjoy it. With the cold weather, shouldn't they be eating more food? Might they just not like their food in pellet form? Picky chickens?

    They eat the table scraps we give them fine. Mostly spinach, lettuce, some berries, apples, carrots, etc.

    Also, the pellets we are feeing have 17% protein and we do give them some scratch. I read that we need to up their protein though, so we will buy them some live meal worms and some of the BOSS. Suggestions for anything else? - We would prefer to feed them live insects and grains.
  2. willowbranchfarm

    willowbranchfarm Chicken Boots

    Oct 3, 2011
    My Coop
    You may be giving them too many scraps, so they are full and not eating as much pellets. During molting if you want them to have extra protein occasionally give canned cat food, meal worms, and eggs (boiled, scambed, etc.).
  3. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Crowing

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    There does tend to be less waste with pellets. But maybe you can remove their pellets over night and present the feeder to them in the morning to see if they go to eat with enthusiasm. I bet they will love the meal worms. My chickens are crazy about them.
  4. 23missb

    23missb Hatching

    Jul 17, 2012
    Thanks. The idea of removing the feeder and seeing how the react the next day is a good one. They loved the meal worms and the crickets so I think we will continue to buy those for them.
  5. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    Have you ever wormed them? Do they free range? If they free range they might be picking up a lot of their own food, who knows.

    If your hens are molting they need a lot of good protein and nutrition to grow back those pretty feathers. Feeding Black Oil Sunflower seeds, Calf Manna, meat scraps, cat food, are all good things that help grow back feathers.

    ~ Aspen
  6. aggiemae

    aggiemae Songster

    Mar 18, 2012
    Salem Oregon
    We have only one molting hen. It was a VERY hard molt, she was nearly bald, eating lots less than usual and looking so punk that added protein to the morning feeding for all the ladies just to make sure she was getting enough...And since the poor thing didn't have many feathers but insisted on being outside in the cold all day I was also serving it up warm... Now they all want warm fermented grains with tuna or eggs everyday!
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  7. debid

    debid Crowing

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    You can also up the protein in the ration itself by mixing in a higher protein feed (grower or game bird, for example). My chickens are definitely eating more in the colder weather and responded well to a higher protein feed with animal protein during molt.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013

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