Days are getting shorter, summer giving way to autumn ... and our hens inevitably begin their annual moult.
This natural process in gallinaceans often worries their owners who are worried about decreased egg production and their proteges tired.
But why are our friends the hens losing their feathers and how can we help them get through this period successfully?
Why do hens molt?
For our casseroles, their plumage is a protective and pageantry coat.
- It insulates against cold, humidity and heat.
- It protects against shocks.
- He is an asset for the love parade.
- It helps to move and hover.
Very busy, the coat wears out and needs to be renewed. Thus, from 18 months, after its first laying, the hen moults at the end of the summer to face the climatic conditions of winter and regain all its panache.
The feathers begin to fall at the level of the head, then around the neck and finally at the level of the body and tail.
The moult lasts between one and two months.
Some hens moult twice a year, but this is a rare occurrence.
It should be noted that the faster your hens moult and at the right season, the more good layers they are.
Consequences of moulting on spawning
This renewal of plumage is trying for the hens, because they draw on their reserves. All their energy is mobilized to respond to this physiological change.
- There is little or no spawning for several weeks. At each moult, the hens lay 10% to 30% fewer eggs, which explains why around their 6th year, they no longer lay at all.
- The reproductive system is at complete rest (the rooster is sterile).
- There is a decrease in activity and weight loss.
Help our chickens to moult
A high protein diet is essential in helping our hens to molt because all of their feathers are made up of protein.
The little extras to add to the chicken mash:
- germinated seeds ;
- Sun-flower seeds ;
- scrambled eggs ;
- mealworms ;
- rice and semolina.
You can enrich the outdoor space of your chickens with small piles of compost. They will find plenty of insects there to eat, a real source of protein.
Loss of feathers outside the moulting period
If your casseroles flatten out outside of the moulting period, this suggests a health problem.
- Plumante scabies
- Food deficiencies.
- Stress (lack of light, poor soil, space too small, boredom).
- A pecking or fight between hens.
In this case, contact the breeder who sold you the hens or a veterinarian who can advise you on a solution suited to the situation.
If you have basil, dill, or tarragon in the garden, don't hesitate to add some to your chicken mash. These aromatic plants are rich in vitamins and excellent to help them shed calmly.