The Molting Process
During molt, chickens typically stop laying eggs and use this time to build up their nutrient reserves. Even though they are not laying, it is critical that your chickens have a high quality diet during this time.
Feeding a high quality ration through molt will help your birds get through the molting process and back to laying eggs as quickly as possible.
- Feed a 16% protein layer feed like Nutrena NatureWise® or Country Feeds® that provide a complete nutrient and energy package for your birds
- Make feed available free choice
- Supplement with extra protein like sunflower seeds, cooked eggs, or peas during molt
- Limit scratch to 10% of diet during molt so you don’t dilute the protein content of the ration
Just as your chickens have individual personalities, they will go through molt differently as well. Some lose a few feathers and grow them back in as quickly as 3-4 weeks. Other chickens lose a lot of feathers and take 12-16 weeks to grow them back.
Other tips for helping chickens get through molting:
- Reduce stress as much as possible, avoid bringing new birds into the flock if possible
- Chickens should act normal during their molt – if they seem sick, something else is wrong
- Both roosters and hens go through molt
- Avoid handling your chickens during molt, it is painful for them and increases stress
So don’t panic when your chickens start losing their feathers and stop laying eggs. Molting is a normal and natural process of shedding feathers and re-growing them that all chickens go through. The best thing you can do to help your chickens through molt is to feed a high quality, high protein layer feed.