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Molt: Optimize Feather Regrowth with Proper Nutrition

Discussion in 'Sponsored Content, Contests, and Giveaways' started by JenniO11, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. JenniO11

    JenniO11 Chirping

    Jan 11, 2012
    This post is brought to us by Nutrena

    All hens and roosters experience molt, the normal, natural process of losing and regrowing feathers. It occurs annually every fall as the days shorten, occurring any time between August and December. Chickens typically experience their first molt at about 18 months of age. The molt period can last anywhere from 4 to 16 weeks, depending on the bird.

    Molt’s purpose is to supply chickens with fresh, new feathers – the best defense against skin infections, and the cold and precipitation of winter. Though completely normal, it can be a stressful time for chickens and their owners. The quickest, healthiest way to help chickens through molt is proper nutrition.

    How Molt Affects Chickens and Owners

    Chicken owners experience molt in two ways. During molt, a chicken may look shockingly ragged, with bald spots and thin patches. For some, their familiar fluffy plumage may disappear almost entirely. Second, a hen’s egg production either decreases or stops, while her body redirects its energy and protein to feather regrowth. The faster a flock gets through molt, the sooner owners can again enjoy the flock’s distinctive feathers and tasty eggs.

    For chickens, molt can be a vulnerable time, with higher susceptibility to infection and disease. Chicken skin is sensitive during molt, and skin integrity is important to prevent invading infections. Keeping birds strong, healthy and stress-free through the regrowth process will get them back to peak performance sooner. A feed with prebiotics and probiotics can help maintain gut health and assure better nutrient absorption, helping to assure feed efficiency and promote better overall health of the flock.

    Feather Loss and Regrowth Timeline
    Just as each chicken has its own personality, each will go through molt differently. Some lose only a few feathers, and regrowth occurs as quickly as three to four weeks. Other chickens lose the majority of their feathers and take 12 to 16 weeks to grow them back.

    However, all chickens will lose feathers in the same sequence, starting with the head and neck first, then along the back, breast and thighs, and finally, the tail. Regrowth occurs in this same sequence, starting with the head and neck, continuing through the body and ending with the tail.

    The Importance of Protein
    Protein is necessary for the growth and repair of tissues and bones. Feathers consist of approximately 85%protein, so regrowing
    feathers requires a higher protein feed (18%) than regular layer feed (16%), and the correct amino acid profile.

    Feather growth is a cycle of nutrient distribution. When feathers are first growing, a young chicken’s body directs nutrients to the feather follicles, keeping them moist, soft and dense. Once hens start laying (and roosters start maturing), nutrients are directed to egg production and other bodily functions.

    Eventually, the “starved” feathers become dry, brittle, and fall out.

    The new feathers that emerge during molt are called pinfeathers. These nutrient-rich, veinfilled feather shafts supply blood to the newly growing feather, which explains the need for higher protein.

    How to Feed During Molt
    Poultry hobbyists unfamiliar with molt may panic when they see their flock losing feathers left and right. They don’t know what to do to help “their girls” recover, particularly, the role good nutrition plays.

    The marketplace has been void of a product designed for feeding during molt. In turn, poultry owners have resorted to using homemade supplements to get more protein into their flock’s diet. The most common supplements are scrambled eggs, sunflower seeds, cat food, dog food, or supplementing the bird’s diet with a higher protein feed (i.e., chick starter or gamebird feed). The pitfalls are inconvenience, inconsistency, and possible nutritional deficiency, if not fed in the proper ratio for a well-balanced

    The Feed Solution: New NatureWise® Feather Fixer™
    This product is a complete feed with 18% protein and organic trace minerals for optimal feather growth. It also includes MiteFighter[​IMG] Technology to help prevent mite infestation and the subsequent irritation of exposed skin. Additional product features include:

    • Organic trace minerals that are more bio-available to support bone strength, feather regrowth, egg shell quality and improved skin integrity.
    • Higher energy levels to support feather growth and egg production.
    • A natural source of greens for periods when there is limited grass, making the fall transition of free-ranging chickens into the coop easier.
    • Prebiotics and probiotics to support digestive health and nutrient absorption, especially important during times of stress, like molt.
    • Marigold extract for golden yolks and skin coloration (beaks and legs).

    If desired, Feather Fixer[​IMG] can be fed year round to hens and roosters to optimize plumage and feather quality. No additional supplements are needed, although free-choice oyster shell should always be available to laying hens.

    With proper nutrition and care, molting chickens will more quickly return to their full-feathered, egg-laying selves.


    For additional information on NatureWise® Feather Fixer™with Mite-Fighter™ Technology, visit FeatherFixer.com.
    3 people like this.
  2. Tomtommom

    Tomtommom Songster

    Jan 14, 2013
    Montevallo, AL
    I have a white rock going through explosive molt.

    She's 8 months old. Along with her sister, they were the first to start laying, at 20 weeks, and laid consistently 5-6 eggs a week.

    This particular bird went broody on me a few months after she started laying and I believe that is why she is molting now. She did not eat for two weeks (as I was trying to break her from her broodiness) and after two weeks I gave up, got her some eggs and put her alone with food and water. She finally started eating a little, but lost about half her weight. Ofcourse, she left the eggs two days before the hatched... but that's a whole story on it's own. I managed to save two babies and they're about a month old now.

    She quickly regained her lost weight and it seems every single feather on her body is falling off. The yard is littered with white fluff. It's definitely shocking. Her whole tail is gone. I was worried about her, but then I realized she has a bunch of half inch long pin feathers pushing the old feathers out.

    I could definitely see her benefiting from a feed like this, but I have not seen it in stores yet. What stores carry it?
    1 person likes this.
  3. MamaDoodle

    MamaDoodle Chirping

    Sep 12, 2013
    My Coop
    I have a Co-Op and a Tractor Supply store within driving distance, but have never seen this product...where is it in stores, so I know whether it's worth the drive for bulk purchase, looking online, or just letting things go as nature..

    Still, thank you very much for the educational thread, I have used the brand for other animals in the past and have yet to see a downside to it really. :)
  4. PinkE

    PinkE In the Brooder

    Mar 20, 2013
    Crawfordsville, Indiana
    I just bought some at the Big R store in Crawfordsville, IN. I'm anxious to try it, my birds are 6 1/2 months old and have been plucking out some feathers on some of my birds, It all sounds good, I may continue to feed this year round.
  5. Tomtommom

    Tomtommom Songster

    Jan 14, 2013
    Montevallo, AL
    I currently feed Layena. Not the best stuff in the world, but it's that or Dumor and well... that stuff makes birds STINK [​IMG] I like to think with all the 'treats' they get, they get a well-balanced meal. It's nice if you can get a balanced meal from a bag though!
  6. Lumbychick

    Lumbychick In the Brooder

    Apr 20, 2013
    B.C. Canada
    Some of my girls are molting now as well and it is starting to get quite cold at night here in B.C. Canada (about 0-3 Deg Celcius), and I'm worried the molting girls will get a chill. This product looks great not only for the molting stage but for winter supplementation as well. Does anyone know where to find this product in Canada? I don't think my local village feed and hardware stores carry it.
    Thank you :)
  7. Messipaw

    Messipaw Songster

    Apr 3, 2013
  8. Lumbychick

    Lumbychick In the Brooder

    Apr 20, 2013
    B.C. Canada
    Ah that sucks. The search engine above turned up with nothing, not even within 100 km of me. Thank you for the link though Messipaw.
    1 person likes this.
  9. You can go with turkey/gamebird food, it is much higher in protein than laying food.

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