Molting--how long & how to help

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by janespromos, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. janespromos

    janespromos Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 17, 2010
    I have 8 hens--2 Blue Stars & 3 Bovans hatched about a year ago, and 3 Bovans hatched about 6 months ago. Except for some sudden, extremely cold weather right before Thanksgiving, they've been inside their raised coop, inside a barn, overnights. No heat but I do keep a thermometer inside. So far, it's never been lower than 20 F.

    It looks like at least one of the older Bovans has started to molt. I wasn't sure at first as this is our first time wintering our flock. She also seems to have an occasional sniffle that hasn't gotten better or worse over the past 3 weeks. She doesn't act sick & is eating and behaving normally. I haven't seen any feathers from the Blue Stars--just red from the older Bovans.

    Right now, they're still getting about a quart of laying mash (we got 4 eggs yesterday & 3 today) and pretty much all the scratch corn they want. They have access to a fenced yard when we let them out of the coop late mornings. If there's snow on the ground, they stay in the barn. I can tell from the colors of the eggs who is laying and who is not, and it looks like none of the older Bovans are right now.

    1) Should I worry about the sniffle? It's occasional, not constant.

    2) What can I do to help the process along?

    Many thanks from a worried mama.
  2. Heidi

    Heidi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2007
    Northwest Michigan
    When my hens molt I try to increase their protein intake. I do this by giving them black oil sunflower seed, handfuls of cat food, and cooked oatmeal with a few eggs mixed in. As for the sniffles... I can't help you there. To ward off anything like that I keep my flock on Avian Charge sold thru Strombergs Hatchery. It's also good for them while molting. Good luck with the molt. It should be done in another few weeks.

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