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Induced molting for the small flock owner - Poultry [Skip to Content]
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QUESTION
Is it possible for a small flock owner to successfully force molt hens that are housed on litter in open housing? How about in closed housing with pretty much total light control? I've been told that the feed withdrawal method cannot be done with hens on litter or dirt because they will consume litter/dirt and can cause GI system impactions. I have read just a little about the research on nonfeed-withdrawal methods of molting. I am looking for more information on this subject and whether this is a viable option for a backyard flock owner.


ANSWER

In response to your questions, go to our poultry website to read an article on non-feed withdrawal molt program (poultrynet.outreach.uiuc.edu/index.cfm). Yes, laying hens can be molted on litter in open housing in late fall and winter months (day length less than 12 hr.). You're right, hens will eat litter if feed is taken away so it might take longer than 10 days to feed restrict them to loose 20 to 25% body wt. As far as a non-feed withdrawal method you might try and feed them cracked or ground corn with vitamins and minerals added in for 1 month in combination with decreasing photoperiod. This might be better than feed withdrawal.







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