Red Mite and Moulting
Continue preventative red mite treatment
It’s important to continue preventative red mite treatment this month. When you put fresh bedding into the coop, be sure to dust all over the inside of the housing with a product such as Diatomaceous Earth. This is a natural, organic product, formed by crushing naturally occurring siliceous sedimentary rock. The fine particles of Diatomaceous Earth dry up the natural oils and fats which cause the mites to shrivel and die quickly. It is safe to use on both your chickens and in the coop.
You can also use Diatomaceous Earth in your poultry feed for fewer worms, lower mortality rate and better feathering.
Helping your birds through their moult
As the hours of daylight reduce, your chickens will start to moult. Moulting gives their reproductive system time to rest and gives them new feathers for the winter.
Feathers are 80-85% protein so making a whole new batch of them isn’t easy. Your chickens will stop laying as they won’t have enough protein to produce eggs, they may lose weight and look sick and you can see a behavioural change – expect a moody chicken. The most obvious one is your chicken looking at its feathers; this is part of the process so nothing to worry about.
You can help your birds through their moult by getting lots of protein into them, to give them the energy they need. Make sure the food you use is at least 16% protein and supplement this with high protein extras like sunflower seeds. Dried cat food is also an old favourite with poultry keepers as it’s really high in protein. Apple Cider Vinegar is also really helpful as its packed full of vitamins.