As the days become shorter and we head into winter, your hens will loose feathers that will be replaced by new ones. This is called ‘moulting’. During this change, hens will often take a break from egg-laying; as their reproductive system takes a rest so their body can build up a store of nutrients for laying eggs during the rest of the year. A late ‘hard’ moult means they quickly return to laying eggs. An early, slow ‘soft’ moult means the hens won’t lay for a longer period.
Help Your Hens Through A Moult
There are a few ways you can make sure your hens come through a moult as healthy and comfortable as possible. Moulting always starts at the head and moves down the body. Observe your hens and when you see they are beginning to moult, put into practice the following tips:
- avoid handling them during this time as their feather follicles are very sensitive, even painful
- make sure they have good protection from the wind and cold weather