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Extreme cold feather loss and loss of appetite.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I live in Mn and we have been having some extreme cold temps. We have a ceramic coop heater set at 40-50. We feed and change water daily. They have stopped laying eggs, not eating like before and have noticed some feather loss on one in particular. The weather has been in the negatives and have been keeping them in the coop for most of the winter didn't know if that was a problem. Very new to chickens was wondering if this is normal or something I should be concerned about.
post #2 of 8

First off, you really shouldn't be adding so much heat to your coop. Chickens can acclimate to cold temps if given the time throughout the fall. So now that they can not tolerate temps below 40 degrees, they are stuck inside the coop, which is really not good for them. They need fresh air and exercise to keep them healthy. Too much hanging around in the coop will lower their resistance to lower and cause them to be open to bacterial infections and such. 

 

So you might first want to start lowing this heat over the next month or so, so they can tolerate your average day time and night time temps. Should you lose power in the night right now, it could kill your birds.

 

BUT...all this being said, a molting chicken can lose their appetite. They don't lay during molting generally. Most of my birds lose the desire to eat much and will skip eating even their favorite treats or goodies. But during a molt, a chicken needs high protein. And if they are not eating much, they aren't getting enough of it. So I like to feed some cooked ground beef or ground turkey a few times a week. Feathers are 85% protein and the birds need a ton of it during molting. So the meat helps out greatly, especially when they are not eating a lot.

 

Also, you might try dampening the layer feed. Chickens much prefer damp feed to dry feed. This will help them eat a bit more.

 

Good luck in this cold snap. I will add heat to my coop, however my birds are acclimated down to an average of 5 or zero without heat. Should it drop to minus 40, I might add heat at this point. 

 

Be careful of coop fires and stay warm!


Edited by TwoCrows - 1/4/14 at 1:15pm

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Keep one eye on the past, one eye on the future and both eyes on the present. ~ a Raven ~

 

I miss my precious Miss Molly. sad.png

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

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post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoCrows View Post
 

First off, you really shouldn't be adding so much heat to your coop. Chickens can acclimate to cold temps if given the time throughout the fall. So now that they can not tolerate temps below 40 degrees, they are stuck inside the coop, which is really not good for them. They need fresh air and exercise to keep them healthy. Too much hanging around in the coop will lower their resistance to lower and cause them to be open to bacterial infections and such. 

 

So you might first want to start lowing this heat over the next month or so, so they can tolerate your average day time and night time temps. Should you lose power in the night right now, it could kill your birds.

 

BUT...all this being said, a molting chicken can lose their appetite. They don't lay during molting generally. Most of my birds lose the desire to eat much and will skip eating even their favorite treats or goodies. But during a molt, a chicken needs high protein. And if they are not eating much, they aren't getting enough of it. So I like to feed some cooked ground beef or ground turkey a few times a week. Feathers are 85% protein and the birds need a ton of it during molting. So the meat helps out greatly, especially when they are not eating a lot.

 

Also, you might try dampening the layer feed. Chickens much prefer damp feed to dry feed. This will help them eat a bit more.

 

Good luck in this cold snap. I will add heat to my coop, however my birds are acclimated down to an average of 5 or zero without heat. Should it drop to minus 40, I might add heat at this point. 

 

Be careful of coop fires and stay warm!


I agree, I am feeding feather fixer by Nutrena right now. I thought I would give it a try. I also add warm water to the pellets in the morning, they love it. My poor girls look terrible with their moult....I am in northern Illinois, and it has been awful and very cold. Its a tough winter for them, but they are doing ok. I try to give them things to do that makes them scratch around to generate their own heat. Also try to keep their stress level down, and try not to handle them while they are moulting. Good luck!

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you I will start lowering the temp and adding some water to food. I do have a ceramic plate coup heater not bulb and water still freezes. We also had a great fall 60s then just got really cold. So once they get more used to the cold (after acclimating) I can let them outside and they will be ok? Lately it been negative a lot and wasn't sure what temps they could handle.
post #5 of 8
Mine were out roaming around one balmy day last week when it was just single-digits below zero (I'm also in MN). They didn't get to go out and play yesterday because we were dog-sitting our son's golden retriever.

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelaMarie View Post

Thank you I will start lowering the temp and adding some water to food. I do have a ceramic plate coup heater not bulb and water still freezes. We also had a great fall 60s then just got really cold. So once they get more used to the cold (after acclimating) I can let them outside and they will be ok? Lately it been negative a lot and wasn't sure what temps they could handle.


I keep mine in their coop/run when its REALLY cold and windy. I have heavy clear plasitc around all but one side of the run. I left the eastern side open, its also protected from the north (lean- to run, off a huge pole barn.) I do open it up so they can roam with the horses in their barn run in.

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelaMarie View Post

Thank you I will start lowering the temp and adding some water to food. I do have a ceramic plate coup heater not bulb and water still freezes. We also had a great fall 60s then just got really cold. So once they get more used to the cold (after acclimating) I can let them outside and they will be ok? Lately it been negative a lot and wasn't sure what temps they could handle.

Once they get used to your average over night lows and day time highs, they can take pretty cold temps. It might feel cold to you, but they can tolerate cold better than we can. Lower the temp about 10 degrees once a week and by next month, they should be near to what your temps normally are. Each week it will get easier for them to handle colder temps. Just like when they were in the brooder as chicks. By next month, they should be able to wander around outside in the cold no problem.

 

Good luck with your birds!

Keep one eye on the past, one eye on the future and both eyes on the present. ~ a Raven ~

 

I miss my precious Miss Molly. sad.png

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

Reply

Keep one eye on the past, one eye on the future and both eyes on the present. ~ a Raven ~

 

I miss my precious Miss Molly. sad.png

 

Treating Sour Crop and Impacted Crop

 

How to Treat Egg Binding in Hens 

Reply
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoCrows View Post
 

First off, you really shouldn't be adding so much heat to your coop. Chickens can acclimate to cold temps if given the time throughout the fall. So now that they can not tolerate temps below 40 degrees, they are stuck inside the coop, which is really not good for them. They need fresh air and exercise to keep them healthy. Too much hanging around in the coop will lower their resistance to lower and cause them to be open to bacterial infections and such. 

 

So you might first want to start lowing this heat over the next month or so, so they can tolerate your average day time and night time temps. Should you lose power in the night right now, it could kill your birds.

 

BUT...all this being said, a molting chicken can lose their appetite. They don't lay during molting generally. Most of my birds lose the desire to eat much and will skip eating even their favorite treats or goodies. But during a molt, a chicken needs high protein. And if they are not eating much, they aren't getting enough of it. So I like to feed some cooked ground beef or ground turkey a few times a week. Feathers are 85% protein and the birds need a ton of it during molting. So the meat helps out greatly, especially when they are not eating a lot.

 

Also, you might try dampening the layer feed. Chickens much prefer damp feed to dry feed. This will help them eat a bit more.

 

Good luck in this cold snap. I will add heat to my coop, however my birds are acclimated down to an average of 5 or zero without heat. Should it drop to minus 40, I might add heat at this point. 

 

Be careful of coop fires and stay warm!


I really think two crows said it all there, she/he's pretty much answered your question. I second their answer. 

Holly (TheGoodLifeGirl)
Lives: Scotland, UK
Two Red Sex Link Hens Margo & (RIP) Barbara
One Speckled Madam Talk Talk
One Red Breast Clara
One Wee Brown Kentucky

 

xx
 

Reply

Holly (TheGoodLifeGirl)
Lives: Scotland, UK
Two Red Sex Link Hens Margo & (RIP) Barbara
One Speckled Madam Talk Talk
One Red Breast Clara
One Wee Brown Kentucky

 

xx
 

Reply
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