Forced Molting?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by bantyhen'sfriend, May 23, 2010.

  1. bantyhen'sfriend

    bantyhen'sfriend Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2009
    Southern Wisconsin
    I'm prepping my Orp hen for show in mid-July, and the breeder I got her from told me that she was in a molt, and that to force her through it quickly enough for her to be in show shape I need to withold food and keep it dark. My questions are:

    1. Has anyone else forced a molt?
    2. Does this information sound right?
    3. How much feed should I withold; all or some?
  2. Mary Of Exeter

    Mary Of Exeter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    Rowan County, NC
    I would not take away their food. They need a lot of protien to have a healthy, quick moult. Changing the lighting will cause them to moult, yes. I do this with my racing pigeons but I've never messed with the chickens. They all work the same though. Just make sure the ventilation isn't bothered too much when you make it dark.
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    The last thing you want to do if you want good feather quality is remove her food and water. She needs MORE protein, not less. Plus, I think it's cruel to force a molt. Big agri-biz may do that, but it's the worst thing you can do if you want to keep a bird healthy. Starving and dehydrating a bird isn't the way to make her look in peak health.
  4. ChickenWisperer

    ChickenWisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2008
    Quote:I agree.
  5. catwalk

    catwalk Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2009
    I grew up on a big commercial egg farm, and they did force a molt, to refresh laying ability. I was not very involved in the process, but I know that the lights were kept off. They were on when we were in there working, but I don't remember if it was completely dark otherwise or not. Food was reduced, but not entirely withheld, and they had water as usual.
  6. bantyhen'sfriend

    bantyhen'sfriend Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2009
    Southern Wisconsin
    Thanks to all who replied. I didn't think the food part sounded right when she told me, but I was not positive. She was already in a molt, just needs some speeding up. We feed a high protein feed to our show birds, so she should be OK.
  7. Kenneth Flippen

    Kenneth Flippen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 3, 2010
    I think if you convinced your bird fall was coming by shortening the daylight hours you would be on the right track although my thoughts would be to up her feed with increased protien. but I'm sure she had a reason for cutting it back I would think late september or october daylight hours but I've never done it so I don't know

    Just a thought
    Kenneth Flippen
  8. ChickFarmer

    ChickFarmer Out Of The Brooder

    May 22, 2010
    Forcing a moult can be done humainly in order to get all your chickens to start at the same time. To do so you restrict the light, and switch them to a high fiber diet. They get fewer calories without going hungy. Witholding water is never part of fourcing a moult, you would just get dead chickens. Remember that chickens won't feed in the dark, so they need some periods of low light. Once the chickens are all starting to moult, give them the feed they need to make good feathers.
  9. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 17, 2009
    My Coop
    I was going to force a moult on an eggbound hen, but I couldn't do it after reading an article that said withhold food for 14 days. I don't think anything could go without food that long. I couldn't do it, because it seemed cruel to me.

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