Chicken Management for the Fall Season
Winter is here which means shorter days. A few changes can be expected around the coop, such as a smaller number of daily eggs being produced and chickens dropping feathers during molt. Molting usually happens for chickens after they are one year old. In order to minimize the molting process, a few changes in management can be beneficial. Chicken feathers are made up of protein, so when a chicken begins molting and drops feathers, it is wise to increase the amount of protein the chickens are consuming. Here’s how: One month before molting begins; start mixing a Chick Starter/Grower with the Layer Feed. Here’s why: Chick starters have a higher protein level and help achieve faster recovery rate of lost feathers.
After the chicken molting is completed, remember to return to the regular feed regimen. Return slowly over a seven-day process. This return process is optimized by mixing Layer Feed with Chick Starter/Grower, until 100% return to Layer Feed is achieved. Important Tip: Decrease the amount of treats that are low in protein. These low protein treats surprisingly will not promote the faster feather growth for chickens during molting season. Adding high protein treats, like mealworms, will help the mounting process as well. Remember: Treats should only make up 10% of the overall diet.
There is more to be considered than just the diet during molting. Smart management practices help chickens to recover faster. For example, a clean coop with fresh bedding will help keep chickens with missing feathers from getting sick or contracting infections while access to sunlight promotes greater egg production. Consider waiting until molting is 100% complete before adding new chicks or, for that matter, new chickens to your flock. Minimizing stress and changes during molting will help the seasonal molting process go smoother and finish up faster. Finally: It almost goes without saying that smart chicken management practices include providing clean, fresh water regularly.
Why this matters: After the well-managed molting process is complete with new feathers and full egg production, your flock will be healthy and strong. And best of all, the chickens will be well prepared for unexpected conditions and fluctuations during the winter season.