For backyard chickens around the world, shorter days also mean a break. Birds may stop laying eggs, lose old feathers, and develop new ones too. This annual egg-laying holiday is called molt, and the process is called molting.
When does molting occur?
Molt is seasonally influenced and typically occurs in the fall when sunlight is raising. For these birds, fall means that it’s time to prepare for the winter, which needs quality feathers. That’s why hens take a break from laying eggs and devote their energies to growing feathers.
This feather loss occurrence happens first when birds are approximately 18 months old, and from then on, happens annually. Backyard flock owners should expect about 8 weeks of feather loss and recurrence, but can take up to 16 weeks for some birds.
Are all molting seasons equivalent for all chickens?
While the general cycle is identical, not all the molting seasons are equivalent. The onset and length of molt is different for each bird. How long chickens are molten depends on factors such as age, nutrient intake, and the climate. You will also note for the first time that feathers are losing their shine. Hens could lose a few feathers slowly, or it could happen overnight.
What are those ways you can help chickens recover quickly form molting?
It is discovered that more active egg-layers and younger hens recover from molting faster than older or less active hens. In either case, proper nutrition and management will help with molting birds. Therefore, the different ways you can help the chickens recover quickly include;
Packing up the protein
Like humans, birds need a different diet depending on their current behavior or life cycle. Protein is the main nutrient to be included in a flock diet during molting.
The number one element shifts from calcium to protein during molting. That is because the feathers are made of 80-85 percent protein, while the eggshells are mostly calcium.
High-protein complete feed will help hens channel nutrients into feather growth and get back to laying eggs.
Keeping the stress down
When on holiday, people usually want a lot of warmth and a place to relax. It’s not that different inside the coop when it’s molting season. Ensure that you keep chickens grinding happy by minimizing the heat in the coop.
The region where the feather shaft meets the skin can be very sensitive during molting, thereby minimizing handling and providing plenty of clean bedding. Offer enough room for your birds to rest and relax in private. For each bird, four square feet inside the coop and 10 square feet outside the coop will keep them happy.
In addition, have access to a lot of new, clean water and good air ventilation. Hydration and ventilation will help keep the backyard coop spa-like for feather production.
Also, probably introduce new members of the flock throughout this time, as adding new friends and possibly restructuring the pecking order could increase friction.
Return back to providing the chickens with layer feed
When birds are ready to come back from vacation and actually grow eggs, it’s important to switch their food profile to satisfy their energy needs soon.
When hens start laying eggs, go back to a full layer feed that suits your goals. Gradually combine the entire layer feed with the high-protein feed for 7 to 10 days. This will help prevent digestive disorders and encourage birds to get used to the taste and texture of their new food.
When they’re back on a full-layer feed and have bright new feathers, get your family ready for fresh farm eggs again.
Where to buy Chickens in Akwa Ibom State
Since chicken is the only meat that has no negative health conditions, you can always use it to prepare any local and continental dishes of your choice. In the Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria, you can buy chickens from sofreshchikens.
Uyo, The Akwa Ibom State capital:
Number 215 Udo Umana Street opposite Akpan Andem Market, Uyo
Oron, Akwa Ibom State:
Number 27 Market Square by Aba Street, Oron, Akwa Ibom State
Eket, Akwa Ibom State:
3 park road, opposite Chinese market, Eket.