Molting is a natural process in which birds, including poultry, shed and regrow their feathers. It typically happens once a year and allows birds to replace old and worn-out feathers with new ones. During molting, hens often temporarily reduce their egg production or stop laying eggs altogether.
In commercial poultry production, especially for egg-laying hens, forced molting is sometimes practiced as a management technique to improve the overall productivity and longevity of the flock. Forced molting involves inducing a more rapid and synchronized molt in the birds by manipulating their environment and feed. This process is often carried out after a period of peak egg production to give the hens a break and allow their reproductive systems to rest and rejuvenate.
The main goal of forced molting is to stimulate the hens to start laying eggs again at a higher rate once the molt is complete. This practice can extend the productive life of the birds and improve egg quality. It is noteworthy, however, that this process has become more controversial over the years due to ethical and animal welfare concerns. Farmers are encouraged today to make their molting process driven around what is natural as much as possible.
Looking at the actual exercise of induced molting, however, looks interesting when paralleled with how we can use this for ourselves. The induced molting process requires the withdrawal of feed – which leads to zero immediate productivity, the withdrawal or reduction of water, the manipulation of lights, and the control of the environment. All of these are almost the textbook definition of a food fast and retreat.
Hence, if you want to be more productive, one way to do this is to take some time off to induce some molting yourself, and you are likely to come out of that phase feeling alive, energized, and ready to experience your highest productive moments again!
In the poignant words of Anne Lamott, “Almost everything will work if you unplug it for a few minutes… including you.”
Pause, reflect, and emerge renewed.