Learn how to prepare your flock for molt with Blain’s Farm & Fleet and Nutrena.
When you’re raising backyard chickens you need to prepare for molt. Dropping feathers and a drop in egg production are part of the natural molting process. There are a few ways you can help your flock prepare for molt. Blain’s Farm & Fleet and Nutrena are here to help.
If your coop is without supplemental light in the winter and your birds are 18 months or older, your hens will molt. In order to get them ready for this transition, it’s best to start preparing early.
Cut back on treats and increase the protein in your birds’ diet. When hens molt, they lose their protein-rich feathers. A protein increase is essential so your flock can replace those feathers. Scratch and straight grains can actually dilute protein–it’s important to cut back to 10% or less or even avoid it completely during molting season. Nutrena NatureWise Feather Fixer is designed to help your birds quickly get through molt.
Clean the Coop
This is also a great time to get your coop ready for winter. Thoroughly clean nest boxes, perches and the chicken run. Having a clean environment helps reduce the chance of infection and spread of bacteria for birds with bare skin due to molt.
Examine Your Flock
While the feathers are falling, it’s important to keep an eye out for other critters making a home in the chicken coop and around your birds. Parasites like lice and mites can affect feather quality and regrowth, adding more stress to your flock. Examine the coop and your birds for any parasites. Work with your local veterinarian for proper treatment plans.
Monitor the Flock
If you have an notoriously aggressive bird in your flock, molt season is the best time to determine if they should be kept in the flock or not. Blood filled pin feathers and exposed, tender skin make hens prime targets for bullying, aggressive birds.
Alert the Neighbors
Finally, if you sell or give away eggs to neighbors, friends and family, you should let them know that there will be a drop in egg production because of molt. This way everyone is prepared for a temporary egg shortage and can make other arrangements for getting eggs.
Raising chickens is a rewarding process. At Blain’s Farm & Fleet we understand. That’s why we carry everything you need to raise your chickens from the time they’re baby chicks to egg-laying adults. Choose from our wide selection of chicken feed, poultry feeders and waterers, chicken coops and more. For more tips on caring for your flock, visit our Hobby Farming blog.