DO chicken go off food when moulting and other questions about moulting?

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SamT

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My chickens are about 2 and half years old, and this year they are having a proper moult they are taking it in turns and each chicken seems to behave differently.  I have noticed they are not as bothered with their usual treats of rice or greens, they have a few nibbles and walk off where normally they wouldnt leave til it was all gone.  I did read that they can get a bit grumpy because of the pain they can get with the new feathers growing, and my first one did sit and whinge all day, and I also noticed her comb got paler while she was moulting, and now the second chicken who is starting to grow new feathers has also started going paler, the third chicken hasnt quite started yet and is still looking nice and red. The eggs have totally dropped off which I expected anyway due to age and time of year, but will they still have to lay one once in a while or can they go several weeks without laying one?  I am giving them plenty of seed and mealworms in the afternoons to keep them warm and I read they need protein to help with the feather growth.  Anything else I can do to help them ?  Many thanks. 

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New shoot

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Hi Sam

Chickens can be out of sorts when moulting and as they normally stop laying over this period, their combs go pale.  Their food requirements also lessen as they are not producing eggs.  Good quality feed is essential, but don't give too many treats.  Mealworms are high in fat and not the best source of protein.

Formulated layers pellets or mash have plenty of protein in.  Some people give cat food or tinned tuna to their birds when moulting, but I don't personally.

As to whether your chickens will lay again depends on the breed.  If they are hybrids bred for maximum egg production, you may find they are pretty spent by now.  Pure breeds tend to be more seasonal in egg production but carry on for longer  :)

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Fisherman

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Hi Sam
One of my chickens, a Bluebell of about 2 years old, has been moulting recently and she has been off laying and very fussy about food. She is coming towards the end of her moult and very fine she looks to. Hopefully she will lay again come spring but if not - oh well. My other chickens of the same age could do to moult as they look a bedraggled lot especially in this weather but they keep on laying, amazing!



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