Friday, July 10, 2009

A Couple More Tricks to Induce Molting

Border hens enjoying some bread!

A flight of German Roller hens will eat 1/2 slice of soft bread each day!

Getting the Last Couple Hens to Molt

The artificial lights have been off now for a few days and almost all hens have given up nesting behavior but a couple of hens are persisting with trying to nest on the floor, in spite of a sudden drop in day length. And with of no cocks in their cage, no nests, decreased protein seeds, and dim lighting, yet these gals just do not want to give up!

Time to try another couple of tricks. First, I am raising the temperature in the aviary. Temperatures up to 90 F should be easily tolerated and will enforce the let's molt message. When raising the temperature, be sure to keep fresh water available and watch heat tolerance. The birds are fine until they sit around with their mouths open because they are too hot. Without sweat glands, opening their beaks is their way of cooling off. Should they sit with open beaks, I will drop the temperature slightly and offer bathes to cool them down. Usually my birds do not sit with open beaks unless the temperature is 100 F.

My second trick is to feed the hens bread to increase the carbohydrates in their diet. They love to eat the soft bread and it will help them to also gain back some weight that they may have lost during breeding season.

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