Why the heck are my chickens losing all their feathers and not producing eggs!?!? Are they sick? Pissed? Dying? Hungry? Revolting against the colder temperatures? WTF?!
Wait, they’re what? Molting? What the heck is molting and why is it happening while I’m tracking egg production vs. the cost of their feed?
After a little research (the internet is truly an amazing invention), I feel a lot better. However, I am still looking forward to them looking and feeling better so we can eat some more of those glorious eggs on a regular basis!
Here are some facts:
- Chickens usually molt every year, but some chickens molt every two years
- Molting is the process of shedding and replacing their feathers and generally takes 6-8 weeks (though some chickens are quick at 3 weeks and some are slow at up to 12 weeks)
- They generally start this process when the days get shorter, and therefore colder (silly ladies)
- You know they’re molting when they…
- stop producing eggs (or slow way down, our egg production has been cut to about a third of what it was a couple of weeks ago)
- loose a lot of their feathers
- quiet down or become much louder
- don’t want to be touched/become quite crabby
- eat like horses
- drink like fish
|Notice the Lady on the end…she’s probably our worst right now. Poor girl!|
- They will need some extra protein while molting which you can give them in a high protein (16% ish) feed and/or by supplementing their feed with…
- sunflower seeds
- cooked eggs (scrambled or boiled and mashed up…weird, I know, but true)
- canned tuna or salmon
- cottage cheese
- dry cat food
|Yummy mixture of peas and mashed boiled eggs :-/|
So, while I’m patiently waiting for the ladies to grow back some of those feathers and start producing more than one or two sad eggs a day, I’ll be trying to remind myself that 1) This is normal 2) I’d be pissed if I was losing all my hair, too!
How are your chickens doing? Do you do anything special for your ladies while they are molting?