Forced Molting
An Animal Rights Article from


Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights
January 2003

Forced molting refers to the manipulation of hormones in hens to promote egg production. Each year the egg industry, with the support of the AVMA , intentionally deprives millions of hens of all food for an average of 1 - 2 weeks, until they lose 25 to 35 percent of their body weight.

Forced molting is so stressful it increases bone breakage and results in the death of hundreds of thousands of hens each year.

It also impairs the hens' immune system, predisposing the birds and their eggs to Salmonella infection. USDA immunologist Peter Holt reports that while unmolted hens usually have to ingest 50,000 Salmonella cells to become infected, molted hens need fewer than 10. Once infected, these hens are more likely to lay contaminated eggs.

"Molting, in combination with an SE (Salmonella enteritidis) infection, created an actual disease state in the alimentary tract of affected hens."

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