Hens won't stop molting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by feathers50, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. feathers50

    feathers50 New Egg

    Oct 8, 2008
    northeast florida-Palatka
    My hens went through a very heavy molt in late summer and early fall. They just started laying again, but now are starting to molt again. They are Rhode Island Reds, production reds, and sex links. I feed them 12% layer crumbles and about a month ago I started adding a little sweet feed for the extra protein. Why do they keep molting? My ducks are doing the same thing.
  2. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    My layer crumbles are 16%. Never heard of 12% layer, that seems very low, to me. I'd increase protein immediately. It take a lot of protein to lay eggs, or grow feathers. I'd give at least 16%, and add a scoop of dry dog or cat food, or a little 20% for a boost. Add oyster shell or feed their own eggshells back to them for calcium and minerals.

    I don't know how much protein sweet feed has, and since it's for horses and cattle, it may have salt added. Some feeds for horses and cattle aren't very good for poultry. Some of it they won't even eat.

    Are you sure they're molting again? Feather loss could be due to a heavy mite infestation, which would also cause a drop in egg production.

    Or maybe only part of the flock molted before, now the rest are starting. They don't always molt in unison. Mine sure don't.
  3. Red Tie

    Red Tie Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2008
    Metamora, MI
    Most equine sweet feeds are 10 or 12 percent protein. Uping the protein sure is a good idea. I feed Purina Layena crumbles and Purina Flockraiser, which is something like 18 percent, for molting or growing birds.

    And, yes, check for mites!


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