What Is Feather Moulting in Chickens?

Feather Moulting is a dramatic loss of feathers in your chickens. It is a natural moulting process which allows your chickens to shed old and worn feathers and then re-grow fresh, shiny, new ones. It is a natural cycle and will occur usually at the change of the season from summer into winter as the daylight hours are greatly reduced. The feather moult also allows your laying hens time to rejuvenate their reproductive organs as they will usually stop laying during this time.

What Are the Main Symptoms of Feather Moulting in Chickens?

  • Sudden and dramatic loss of feathers.
  • Pale combe and wattles.
  • Reduction or even a complete stop in egg production.
  • Increase in appetite especially for proteins.
  • New feather growth.
  • Eating eggs, when chickens moult they will need extra protein, they may resort to eating their flock mate’s eggs if they are not getting enough protein from their feed.

How to Treat Feather Moulting in Chickens?

As feather moulting is a natural occurrence and essential for your hen’s heath there is no treatment to stop it, however, there are a few things you can do to help your hen during her moulting period. When your chicken moults she will use up a lot of the protein and iron stores in her body. Feathers are made of 80-85% protein so re-growing them will pretty much deplete her of protein, you can help her by increasing the amount of protein you give alongside her regular pellet feed. Protein is essential for building muscle and new tissue and as she grows new feathers she will benefit from an increase of natural protein. We don’t recommend using soy products but alternatively use natural healthy sources such as seeds, peanuts (in small amounts), by far the best source of protein are mealworms and crustaceans. You can also add ½ a teaspoon of ginger powder to her regular feed once a day, ginger has been proven to help speed up the growth of new tissue and feathers so this will also benefit her. Alternatively, you could try our specially formulated Feather Moult Pipinchick Forager Treat Mix, created with extra protein, ginger, added B12 vitamins and complexed carbohydrates which will also give your hen an energy boost during her moulting period.