When the days become shorter, you must prepare for molting chickens if you have a bunch of feathery friends. Chickens start to molt during the fall season. They require high nutrition and food and snacks packed with proteins during this season. The reason why it’s necessary is that chickens lose feathers during fall, and to start the regrowth process, owners must enhance their protein intake.
Additionally, if their feathers don’t grow back on time, it will impact their wellbeing in the upcoming winter; hence, enriching their intake and increasing the possibilities of quality feather regrowth is crucial.
Even though your hens may take a leave from laying eggs, you must not take this season lightly. This is why, after thorough research, we’ve boiled down how you can create a diet filled with a much-needed protein punch for your chickens. Stay tuned to know what we discovered.
High protein nutritional foods for molting chickens:
Chickens’ feed contains 16% to 18% protein content generally. Although this amount is adequate for hens laying eggs, you might have to kick it up a few notches when they’re molting.
The boosted feed must contain around 20% protein value. Thus, let’s see which foods can deliver this additional necessity without further ado.
1. Chicken Feed
Starter chicken feeds have high protein value and are produced for baby chicks. It contains around 20% protein range or more based on which brand you’re opting for. The trick is to add the starter chicken feed with layer feeds to increase the hen’s overall protein intake.
2. Broiler Feed
High protein broiler chicken feeds contain around 20% to 22% protein. Thus, many owners grab these during the molting season as they’re an excellent additional source to boost their nutritional value.
3. Grubs And Bugs
Allowing your chickens to have a go at pecking new areas isn’t the worst idea. If there are bugs and grubs around your yard that they’re specifically interested in, let them have at it as they have a high protein range.
As absurd as it may sound, chickens love scrambled eggs. Needless to say, these are an excellent source of protein for them. A large egg can have around 6 grams of protein in it—no wonder why bodybuilders ravenously eat eggs multiple times during the day.
5. Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds contain approximately 17% protein content. These can generously help in letting your chickens grow back their feathers in no time. Moreover, not only will they grow back before winter, but these also contribute heavily to making the feathers shiny, glossy, and healthy. Another benefit of sunflower seeds is that they can assist chickens in producing eggs.
Mealworms are tasty treats for chickens. But the bonus is that dried mealworms have around 50% protein contents which aid during the chickens’ molting stage.
7. Sprouting Legumes and Beans
This one’s a bit of a gamble. Some chickens might beat around the bush but eventually, get a taste and love them. However, others might steer clear entirely. But if the situation is in your favor, freshly sprouted mung beans or lentils are great alternatives to give to your chickens.
8. Pumpkin Seeds
Did you know that pumpkin seeds have a protein value of 30%? Thus, if you grow or buy pumpkins, never shove the seeds in your garbage. Instead, implement them in your chickens’ diet. The best part is that they love these!
Raw or cooked oats can deliver around 11% to 14% protein content range. This is a decent intake source for chickens, whether they like it whole or rolled.
Tuna fish is an absolutely delightful treat for chickens. One can of tuna contains around 27 grams of protein. But, be careful while handing them out to the – chickens can go quite crazy over these.
Here’s another tricky food to hand out to chickens. Most chickens detest the taste of parsley. Hence, your attempts of feeding them all alone might go in vain. However, you can sprinkle some on top of their food, and they will not mind at all. Just a cup of parsley can contain around 20% protein.
12. Japanese Millet
Chickens love munching on grasses. And what other better alternative can you get if not the Japanese millet as these have 16% protein content.
Tips For Molting Chickens:
- Transitioning The Food
It’s important to transition your chickens back to layer feed when they start laying eggs. Start by mixing the layer feed with the previously continuing protein feed over a week or ten days. Their life is a cycle, and with every stage, their body needs particular nutrition.
- Stress Levels
During their molting season, they need time to relax and feel comfortable. Moreover, their exposed skin is susceptible at this stage; thus, reducing handling is vital. Privacy and clean bedding are absolute must-haves at this time of the year. Proper ventilation in their coop, hydrations, and comfort will minimize their stress levels.
- Protein Intake
In any flock’s diet, protein is the key ingredient if they’re molting. Depending on their current stage and activity in life, they require this as their primary intake. Furthermore, feathers are regrown with 80 to 85 protein. Thus, it’s a no-brainer why it’s essential.
Besides bringing the best to the table for your chickens, it’s also necessary to keep in mind what they’re demanding with the seasonal and health changes. Feeding the correct amount of food with a balanced nutrition and protein value will optimize their well-being and enhance their stamina against specific times of the year and life cycles.
However, there is also a phenomenon of feeding too much protein to chickens. Yes, you guessed it – it’s not the best idea. Overfeeding protein foods will cause dehydration rapidly, which will also increase their ammonia levels. This can also streamline into many more issues.
Hence, understanding what they need and the respective proportions is something that every chicken owner must look into before jumping on the bandwagon.