The process of molting or moulting is when chickens naturally shed old feathers to regrow new ones. In poultry production molting isn’t a strange thing. That all chickens go through every year is a natural process. The motive for it is quite easy. Firstly, to remove or replenish their feathers, chickens mold, or moult. Chickens need to grow new feathers because it allows them to easily and efficiently regulate their body temperature, especially in colder regions.
It is worth noting that, in their lives, a chicken must go through this cycle many times. Juvenile molt, a term for chicks’ first molt, occurs when the chicks are 6-8 days old.
And veritable feathers. The second juvenile molt occurs when male chickens are about 8-12 weeks old. This is when they grow ornamental feathers. In adult chickens, the first molt happens when they are 18 months old. In this stage, the molting process lasts for 8 – 12 weeks – although there are some that molt for as long as 6 months.
What are the Molting Types in Chickens?
Additionally, it can be either soft or hard in adult chickens. The phase-in soft molting is incremental. That is to say, the birds slowly lose their feathers and you’d find it hard to tell if the birds are molting.
Difficult molting on the other hand is dramatic. The birds quickly lose their feathers, making them appear raw or naked.
What Triggers Molting?
Chickens have a variety of causes. Some common triggers in chicken include:
- Decreased in daylight
- End of cycle for laying eggs
- Untypical condition of the lighting
- Water shortage
- Bodily tension
- High temperatures
It has other disadvantages aside from the cessation or reduction of egg production. Because of their bare or exposed skin, the birds are vulnerable to pecking or cannibalism. The birds also feel uncomfortable during the molting period, and wouldn’t want to be handled.
What are the Effects on Egg Laying Performance?
Have you ever wondered why old or spent layers do not lay eggs while they are molting? Now, this is what happens: Usually, they stop laying eggs when laying chickens are going through the process. This is because the production of both eggs and feathers cannot take place simultaneously. That’s the reason why chickens stop laying eggs or significantly reduce the production of eggs when molting. The cycle of laying the eggs will start again after they have grown up new fathers.
How to help Chickens recover Quickly
Poultry farmers need to help their birds pass through a molt by providing additional protein for them. The normal crude layer feed protein is 16 percent, but when layers are molting, this should be increased to 20 – 25 percent. The reason for this is that chickens use protein for feather production, and the faster they can get out of molting, the more protein they have at their disposal.