“Why are my chickens balding??” “Why are my chickens NOT laying eggs?” These concerns start to grow around the fall season to many chicken owners. But don’t worry too much; this is a normal process chickens go though…
Why are my chickens balding?”
“Why are my chickens NOT laying eggs?”
These concerns start to grow around the fall season to many chicken owners. But don’t worry too much; this is a normal process chickens go though. Losing feathers and re-growing them is called molting and occurs every year when the days get shorter and temperatures get cooler. They use this time to build up their nutrient reserves. After about a six month time frame, the chickens start their first molting session. All chickens are different during the molting process. For example; some chickens loose less feathers and replacement feathers grow back in about 3-4 weeks. Others who tend to loose more can take up to 12-16 weeks to grown back.
Chickens may stop laying eggs during this time because of their low protein. Since feathers are 85% protein the best thing you can do to help your chickens through the molting process is to feed them a high quality, high protein layer feed. Also feeding your chickens different proteins such as sunflower seeds, cooked eggs, or peas may help replace feathers faster. Dog food and cat food are always another option.
Chickens will lose feathers in a sequence, starting with the head and neck and then down the back, across the breast and thighs and finally their tail feathers. The new feathers that emerge are called pinfeathers and will grow in; following the same sequence they were lost. It is best to try to reduce any additional stress during this time. Try to avoid bringing in new chickens or any other type of birds during the molting time if possible. Also try to avoid handling the chickens during molting, it is painful to them and increases stress.