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How Chicken Moulting Affects Egg Production

Published on November 26, 2013 by Penny Roberts in Chicken Care

As the colder weather approaches, most chickens stop laying their eggs. This is due to the reduced daylight hours. Chickens need around 14 hours of daylight per day to lay eggs regularly. But in winter they only see around 8 hours of daylight, which is insufficient to complete the egg production cycle.

At this time of year I also give my girls a drop of apple cider vinegar in their water as a tonic (only use a plastic drinker for this as it will corrode a metal one), along with some poultry spice mixed with bread and water. This is a lovely vitamin tonic, and will give them a healthy boost as well as helping things along generally.

I’m quite lucky because some of my girls continue to lay, though I can’t categorically say which ones. There may be more laying than I think, just less frequently. I don't tend to give my girls as many treats/scraps in the winter because it is really important that their nutrition is kept on an even balance at this time of year so that they stay healthy.

Some of my chickens are still in moult which is the process of shedding and renewing feathers. In the image below you can see that the chicken in the foreground has yet to grow back fully the feathers around her lower half, compared to the chicken in the background. This normally happens to adult birds once a year, though in some cases it can happen twice in one year. It’s a completely natural process inherent in most animals, and is designed by Mother Nature to ensure better protection during cold winters. When this happens, they stop producing eggs in order for their bodies to concentrate on replacing their plumage and to build up the body’s reserves of nutrients.
 
Moulting is nothing to worry about. In fact, if a chicken doesn’t moult then usually it means that it’s not a layer. For those that do then the good news is that after the process is completed their reproductive tract will have rejuvenated, so we should get even better eggs than before!
 

Chicken Moulting

Tags: chickens, moulting, moult, hens, egg

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