Molting Help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by newchickmom, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. newchickmom

    newchickmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 8, 2007
    Lafayette, Indiana
    About half of my 26 hens are molting and their tails or backs are almost bare! Some are starting to get pinfeathers growing back now, but It is pretty cold now and I am worried about them.
    Is there anything I can do to help?
     
  2. BJ

    BJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 20, 2007
    give them lots of protein foods...like black oil sunflower seeds. Some people give salmon or tuna...but mine didn't like. It doesn't take long for the feathers once they start coming in. Are they in a sheltered area? Just get them out of the wind and maybe put a light for them to get under if they need. They seem to be able to take care of themselves and know what to do. I think the protein is a big factor for getting good feather growth.

    Maybe some others will chime in here with suggestions. I'm not the expert...mine molted in late summer.
     
  3. Pumpkinpup

    Pumpkinpup Poultry Princess

    Jul 16, 2008
    North-West Georgia
    Black Oil sunflower seeds and a bit of calf manna or hi protien pelleted rabbit feed in their normal food will help them regrow the feathers faster. If they have shelter from the rain and wind they should be fine [​IMG]
     
  4. newchickmom

    newchickmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 8, 2007
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Yes, they have a coop and run. Of course they mostly hang out in the run and go in at night.
    I will try the sunflower seeds. Do they need to be hulled?
     
  5. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    I have been mixing 20% chick grower crumble into the molty girls' feed as well. The heaviest molter even likes tiny beef strips a couple of times a week.

    For warmth when it is really cold, I use a ceramic heat lamp mounted near the top of the coop. I figure this helps the really bald girl until her skin is a bit more covered.
     
  6. BJ

    BJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 20, 2007
    no need to hull the seed....just throw it down and they will go for it. Try some chick feed too...it is high in protein and the molters quit laying for a while, so it doesn't hurt.
     
  7. Bellecreek

    Bellecreek New Egg

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    Nov 12, 2008
    I recently had a flock of 500 older Black Sex Links go into molt, and therefore, couldn't afford to feed them anything "special" to help grow back feathers.

    What I CAN recommend is:

    1. Make sure they have adequate shelter to get out of the elements, particularly rain/cold. They don't have enough feathers for protection.

    2. Feed top quality layer ration. Mine proved adequate to grow back new feathers (even for those that were almost bald). My birds are looking sleek and healthy now.

    3. If you want to or can, provide high protein supplements. I only did once a week. Then, I cooked up the eggs that were cracked, highly soiled, or "suspect" ones that I found, and didn't know their age, and fed them back to the hens. As the "perfect" protein, this did provide a good boost to help regrow feathers.

    Although seeds/nuts/grains DO provide protein, they are an incomplete source. (I'm a Registered Dietitian). Therefore, if you DO choose to supplement, you are better off with an animal source of protein which have a more complete balance of amino acids.

    Some poultry producers raise maggots for this purpose (NO - I cannot do it either!). However, others use cat food, fish meal, etc. Soybean meal is the BEST source of vegetable protein. However, if used in excess of 5% of the total diet, the eggs will be fishy in taste. However, hens in molt don't lay! I occasionally will give mine left over cottage cheese, yoghurt, etc. and they LOVE it.


    4. Ensure that their regular diet is HIGH quality. For laying hens, they MUST be fed laying ration. For broilers they MUST be fed a grower ration. Plus, make sure you know what the protein source is. I've been horrified to read some labels that list the source of protein as chicken feathers. (A Walmart brand).

    After making the mistake of buying a "mystery" bag once for my sheep when I'd run out of my regular food I'm a lot more careful. When I read the listed ingredients, it could in no way make the percentage protein that the label stated. Therefore, I thought at the time that it could be melamine (you know the stuff that China used to boost the protein in pet food, and is industry standard for livestock food!) SCARY!

    5. Remember that if you choose to give your birds "treats" such as scratch, and veggies/fruit it's OK ONLY if it is a very, very small percentage of their overall ration. As the above are low protein, it will affect their overall protein intake if it is a significant portion of their diet.

    Now I have my feed custom-made, to ensure they get what they need, WITHOUT any nasties, and so that I KNOW what they get.

    Hope this helps!
     

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