Are they moulting? It's too cold for that!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Shivani, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. Shivani

    Shivani New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2014
    My chickens of 5 breeds were hatched June 25th and began laying on Dec. 1st. They have been laying very well, even though we are in SW Wisconsin and it has been bitter cold here for weeks, with Arctic air coming our way. When I went to do evening chores last Sunday, I found that the chicken's water was frozen as the electric heater had come unplugged. 3/4 of the amount they usually drink in a day was still in the waterer. I gave them new, warmed water and they rushed to it. The next evening, I found one hen lying dead. The vet said it was probably because chickens get toxic really fast if they don't get enough water, often fatally toxic. (I did an "autopsy" and she looked fine - except for being dead, of course.) The others all seemed fine. However yesterday and today egg production has suddenly gone way down. The flock may be eating less, too, but it's hard to tell because we had too many roosters and butchered 3 on Wednesday, so we went from 22 chickens and 3 guineas to 18 chickens and 3 guineas, and of course that means they are eating less. I have read that being temporarily short of water can put birds into a moult. But we are about to get hit with yet another blast of Arctic air, so that could be disastrous. They need their feathers! Is there anything that can be done to prevent them from moulting from the stress they had? Thanks!
     

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