Molting hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bgld22, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. bgld22

    bgld22 Just Hatched

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    Sep 14, 2016
    My hens are about 18 months old, this is their first molting..

    Oh my! I was not prepared for the amount for feathers!! At first I ran inside to get my hubby cause I thought something had gotten one of them.. anyway..

    Is there anything special I should feed them during this molting?

    My hens look hilarious.. btw..
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    It's ideal to switch to a grower or flock raiser feed during molt. 18-20% protein and ~1% calcium is ideal. The extra protein will speed and support feather growth and the lower calcium will take pressure off their kidneys (as molting hens do not lay and as such are forced to excrete the extra calcium from layer feed through their kidneys).

    You can also supplement with high protein treats like ground beef or scrambled eggs.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy bgld22

    QueenMisha has given you some great advice regarding increasing the protein.

    I just wanted to say that my first experience with a hard moult freaked me out also. I went to work and Dusty looked OK, I came home to black feathers everywhere and this:

    [​IMG]

    I thought something had attacked her also as she was hiding under the coop and very miserable. I picked her up to check her out and she did not like that one bit. So, I just wanted to add that during the moult they can get miserable and those pins feathers are very sensitive so lots of TLC, increased protein and no touching [​IMG]
     
  4. bgld22

    bgld22 Just Hatched

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    Sep 14, 2016
    Thank you so much! I'm off to the feed store in the morning!

    Poor things!
     
  5. bgld22

    bgld22 Just Hatched

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    Sep 14, 2016
    I have another question, all 5 of my hens are molting..

    Most of the day they just lay under a tree is this normal? This is their second day for being lazy under the tree... they come out to eat but they are not roaming at all..
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    Yep, pretty normal. I don't know if it's an energy thing, or exactly why, but molting birds seem to just kind of hunker down for the duration. They withdraw from others, tend to be quiet, not as active as usual, etc.
     
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    My Australorp did the same thing a few weeks ago. Let them out of the coop in the morning and everyone looked normal. Came back in the afternoon to check for eggs and refill water, and I found this.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    An impressive amount of feather loss for just a few hours time.
     
  8. bgld22

    bgld22 Just Hatched

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    Sep 14, 2016
    You guys make me feel so much better!
     
  9. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    X2... it's normal. Still scares me to death when my favorite birds do it but oh well. Molt is stressful and they're conserving their energy.
     
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Molting hens and roosters too are feverish and picking them up causes discomfort as well as permanently damaged feathers. The only cure for damaged feathers is to pull them out so that a pretty new healthy feather will grow back in place of the damaged feather.
     
    1 person likes this.

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