When the days get shorter and the breeding season is over, the chickens start moulting again. This is a very intensive and stressful period for the chicken. They unload old and worn springs and create new ones. During this period they often look pathetic, they are paler and thinner and it also makes them very vulnerable. It is therefore important to provide them with extra support during this period.
Moulting process for chickens
The moult often starts in the fall when the weather is a bit colder outside. This takes a month or (sometimes even) two. The moulting process takes place in different stages, because the chickens do not lose all their feathers at the same time. This can sometimes even be very different per breed. But often for adult chickens it goes like this:
- First the neck feathers and the fluff fall out
- Then it's the turn of the back feathers
- Then the chest and thighs
- Finally, the tail and wing feathers are replaced.
The process is different for chicks and younger chickens. It often starts for chicks after 6 to 8 days, then they lose their down before the first feathers. Then after 8 weeks it is time to replace the baby feathers with adult chicken feathers. It can often be seen during this period whether it is a hen or a rooster.
Care during the moult
It is very important during the moulting period to take good care of the chickens. So that they come out with a healthy and radiant plumage. We are happy to give some tips to make it easier for the chickens.
Give some extra protein
Because this process is very intensive for the chicken, it is really important to give extra proteins, because the feathers of chickens consist of about 80% proteins, they need this extra. So now and then give the chickens some boiled egg, seeds or insects.
Provide a clean run and living environment
In addition, the plumage is temporarily quite thin. This makes the chickens more susceptible. For this reason it is important that the chicken coop is kept clean and that there is enough shelter against different weather conditions
Increase the resistance of the chicken
Giving vitamins is crucial in the moulting period. Because it can greatly increase the chicken's resistance and it can make the moulting faster. They can certainly use the extra energy during this period!
Tip: also give some extra grain and maize in the summer, so that the chickens thicken up nicely before the moult starts.