How to Deal with Moulting Poultry
Anybody wanting to buy chickens should be aware that at some point, your chickens are going to moult. This can often come as a shock to the poultry owner and may seem indicative of a graver problem such as disease or mites – however, luckily, moulting is actually a highly normal process in chickens for sale and should happen at regular intervals throughout their lives. The first moult occurs when a chick loses its down and generates its first baby feathers, these are later replaced by adult feathers. Adult birds do not moult at exactly the same time but they typically go in to moult during the summer months when it can last for 6 – 12 weeks.
However, during a moult, adult chickens are more susceptible to disease, depending on the severity of the moult (the amount of feathers shed). During this time chickens need more protein than usual in order to regenerate feathers and protect against disease. A separate feeding of mixed corn or oats which is high in energy and a vitamin supplement with their layers ration will help them maintain weight. It is important to feed these supplements early in the moult, as supplements may be ineffective if the bird has already lost too much weight. Clean water and fresh bedding will help lower stress during this time, and before long your chickens will be back to normal!