Molting is the term that refers to the complete, rapid shedding of old feathers and re-growth of new feathers. Generally, chickens molt in the late summer and early fall months. Chicks hatched in early winter or spring will not molt that same year, but will wait until the following fall before they molt for the first time.
Providing a higher protein ration while they are molting may help them grow new feathers quicker, which will help get your hens back laying sooner. Some recommended additions to their normal feed are:
- Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
- Plain Yogurt
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Scrambled Eggs
The length of molt varies greatly by breed and can also vary between individuals within the same breed. On average the molting process will take around 7-8 weeks from start to finish but can take up to 12 weeks.