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Molting Season is Here

Are your birds starting to look a little bare? Has egg production dropped? Your birds may be molting. Molting generally happens annually and is when chickens lose their old feathers and grow new ones. Shorter daylight hours stimulate molting season for many breeds.

How long a bird will molt and when it will first molt varies. Some become nearly bald and may stop laying. Others have slower molts with patches and keep laying. Regardless of the time involved, the order of feather loss is defined from head down to tail.

Molting requires additional energy and impacts the hormones. As such, keeping the chickens’ environment relatively stress-free and supplementing their diet can help them through this time. Feathers are mainly protein, so supplementing with additional high quality protein helps. Some high protein options include a handful of high quality cat food every other day, or, if you do not have a cat, mixing or gradually replacing their laying feed with chick starter during the molting season. You can also add a calcium supplement, such as oyster shells or cleaned, dried, crushed egg shells.

Your birds will thank you for the extra help and consideration!

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