Caring for your Chickens during Moulting Season
Every year towards the end of Summer or start of Autumn in the UK, chickens will shed their feathers. This is a normal biological process where broken, loose feathers are exchanged for a new plumage to ensure they have good coverage for the winter. Most hens have their first moult around the age of eighteen months and the process for healthy hens usually takes around six weeks. We have compiled some top tips to help you nurse your chickens through this period and come out the otherside rejuvinated and stronger than ever.
Break from Laying
It is normal for hens to stop laying during the moulting process. This is because they need to conserve their energy to produce the new feathers. It is a crucial time for your chickens to have a break and to be especially well cared for. Looking after their health and well-being will encourage laying once the season comes to an end.
Correct Feed & Supplementary Feed
During the moulting season, protein is a key nutrient to pack into your hen’s diet as this supports growth, repair and body building. As your flock will moult at slightly different times and some may continue to lay eggs, it is important that you find a feed that supports their nutrition all year round. You can feed a supplementary scratch treat in the afternoon such as mixed corn, oats, grain or sunflower seeds, but remember this won’t provide all of the nutrients that chickens require.
Another important factor during the moulting season is to keep your hen’s stress levels as low as possible. This involves keeping any handling to a minimum, giving them plenty of space to rest and roam and avoiding integrating any new hens to the flock or making any big changes to their environment. Their bedding will also need changing more regularly as the area where their feather shaft meets their skin can be very sensitive.
Good Water Supply
Balanced nutrition is key all year round but especially during moulting season. Always make sure the hens have a constant supply of water also. An automatic drinker is a great solution for this.
Chestnut Mill offer a wide range of nutritious and balanced feeds as well as scratch treats from the most highly regarded manufacturers. If you need any further advice to keep your chickens in top condition, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will help as much as we can.