Can artificial lighting influence molting?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by darrylv50, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. darrylv50

    darrylv50 Chillin' With My Peeps

    28
    0
    60
    Apr 8, 2013
    I have 2 Silver Wyandottes in my flock of 9. Last week here in southern Michigan we had double digit below zero temperatures. I don't use a heat lamp but I felt it might be too cold for my girls so I put them all in one coop (they usually sleep in 2) and put a 60 watt light in the coop suspended from the ceiling. It made me really nervous and I checked on it often. They were still milling around in there at 11pm so I know it confused them. The light was on continuously for 3 days. My 2 silvers now seem to be molting, one especially has lost her neck and tail feathers and looks horrible. The other also has lost feathers but not as bad. Can artificial lighting like this cause molting? Is this normal for Wyandottes to molt in Jan? They are 11 months old. Thanks. Darryl
     
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    5,916
    547
    341
    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    Just the extra light on its own didn't create the molting, but the stress from a change in routine or a change in how much the chicken is eating can bring on some molting. Actually it is the reduction in light in autumn that typically brings on a major molt. My chickens just went though their major fall molt (which was a winter molt for a few of the poor cold hens). I put a light in their coop too, and I know it disrupted their sleep cycle as well.

    Hopefully they are just going through what some people call a "mini-molt" and won't lose any more feathers. I also hope we don't get any more of those subzero temperature!
     
  3. darrylv50

    darrylv50 Chillin' With My Peeps

    28
    0
    60
    Apr 8, 2013
    Thanks for your reply. This is the first winter I've had chickens and I am a little overprotective. I just don't want anything to happen to them. I have become very attached to all of them. Maybe it was just the stress of changing their sleeping cycle because they stayed up past their bedtimes for sure with the light on. I haven't changed their food except giving them oatmeal and trying to incorporate more greens for them. They are still laying pretty good but last week I didn't collect the eggs fast enough and had several frozen eggs. I hope that weather is out of our system too. I appreciate your advice.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by