Fall around my property means more than just a change in season… It’s also a fall in egg production – in response to feathers falling off! Each year my flock goes through a yearly molt loosing a large portion of their older feathers and replacing them with new ones. There is so much energy consumed and nutritional depletion during this process there isn’t much left to produce an egg…
Here’s the link to an informational article on molting from the Mississippi State University Extension Service: Small Flock Management of Poultry – Molting of Laying Hens
My observations of a molting hen are: they aren’t as active, they resist being picked up, their combs seem smaller and less red and they stop laying eggs for an extended period.
This is a normal process for a chicken and eventually their beautiful feather colors and patterns return, but during this time when they’re not looking their best I do try to give them a few extra protein rich snacks. Since I started raising mealworms last year, it seemed appropriate to incorporate these protein rich treats into a suet type snack to offer my flock during the peak of their molt.
If you’re interested in raising your own mealworms, it’s really not that big of an undertaking. – Here’s the link to my set-up: DIY Raising Mealworms
|Golden-laced Wyandotte before and during a molt!|
I based my mealworm chicken treats off the basic suet recipe that I make to offer the native backyard birds around my property – cardinals, wrens, woodpeckers and such. Here’s the link to a whole slew of DIY suet feeders I’ve made: DIY Suet Feeders
1 cup lard ~ You can render your own suet from beef fat (it’s an all day process), but I prefer purchasing lard, which is pork fat.
1 cup chunky peanut butter – salt-free and sugar-free
Melt the lard and peanut butter together, then add:
3 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
3 cups layer feed
1 cup black oil sunflower seeds
1 cup mealworms