chicken molting in almost 0 weather

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Gabbychickens, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. Gabbychickens

    Gabbychickens Chirping

    Jul 26, 2014
    I just went out to give my chickens treats and I noticed one of them seems to be molting. This is my first winter with chickens, but I don't believe that is normal to molt when the outside temperature is 2. We don't heat our coop because of the many things I read on your forums about coop fires and power outages that can both kill all the chickens. We are using the method of leaving their poop in the coop so the decomposition warms it up. I'm a little concerned now though about my molting chicken. She should be okay in the coop because it's warmer, dry, and breeze free (we put up a wind barrier to be sure of that) but she has to come out to eat and drink. My coop doesn't have a place to keep food and water in it, it will just get pooped on due to poor design by a newbie (me).Is she going to be okay? Is there anything I can do to keep her warmer? Someone said to start heating the coop, but I still have the concerns that caused me not to heat it in the first place. Any advice welcome please!
  2. Free Feather

    Free Feather Songster

    I have ten month old pullets attempting this, no matter how unwise I tell them it is.
    I do not think you need heat, but trust your eyes. If she looks like she is cold, give her heat. Alot of people who advocate not heating the coop, even in negative weather, sure as heck have the furnace running in their own house with zero ventilation.
  3. Gabbychickens

    Gabbychickens Chirping

    Jul 26, 2014
    That is about how old she is. They have been doing great without the heat, and the coop stays pretty warm. could I put a heat lamp outside by the food so it's warm where she eats? I will heat the coop if I need to, I just hate switching methods when they were doing great.
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Does your girl look this bad? Alice is a six-year old SLW like her sister Lilith to the right. They both began molt in the fall, but Alice seems to have stalled. I can tell when she's cold. She stands motionless with what few feathers she has all fluffed out as far as they'll go. That's when I plug in the heat lamp in the run for her.

    At night, she's okay because they all sleep close together on the perch. But I do have a heater that keeps it just above freezing for all of them in the coop.

    So yes, they do molt in zero degrees, as ill-advised as it is.[​IMG]
  5. cholmberg

    cholmberg Songster

    Jan 14, 2010
    Lewisburg, wv
    Mine have been doing it too. hatched march 3 of last year. .. . for some reason they have decided the last month or so is the time
    to molt. . .. The three fbcm are a few months older and they have been molting, with only one left who looks awful. .. . but the
    other hens are all only about 10 months. . . poor things. they are staying inside in this weather, their door is open but they
    won't go out. I don't blame them.
  6. Gabbychickens

    Gabbychickens Chirping

    Jul 26, 2014
    Poor Alice!

    A friend of mine suggested a sweater for my molting girl. Since I have no skills I am going to try cutting the sleeve off a sweatshirt. I also like the idea of a heating lamp in the run. Gives them a warm spot to eat. So glad to know it happens. I thought something was wrong with her.
  7. shoregirl68

    shoregirl68 Chirping

    Jul 23, 2013
    Well it is much warmer here 14° I have a 10 month old BO molting as well. It's kind of funny b/c she looks so mangy, poor girl. She didn't leave the coop until much later in the day than the other girls. I've been told and read not to add heat b/c it deprives them of their ability to adapt to the cold temperatures and withstand it over time so unless you can isolate her to warm her you may send the others into molt as well. Also if you start giving them heat and the power goes out then they will be really cold!

    Is she really cold? I feel the same way, I'm cold so she must be too.

    I've heard that supplying extra protein will help her to grow her feathers back more quickly and that cracked corn will help to keep her warm. I also wait until after they are all roosting, go out and make sure she is in the middle and not on the end.

    We had a nice flock of chickens last year but lost all but one to the neighbors dog so I've refrained from naming them this year with the exception of one NHR who is a bit scrawny and the most friendly of our flock, b/c of her size I worry about her keeping warm as well but she is usually the first one out in the AM...rain, snow or shine.

    I can't remember the number but each chicken produces a certain amount of heat themselves so together they should all keep her warm.

    Lastly, not to alarm you more but when I first noticed the molt I read about mites causing feather loss. Just to be on the safe side you may want to check her but be careful because it is usually tender where the pin feathers are coming in.

    BTW my daughter's name is that name!

    And remember this will likely make her able to withstand even colder temps in the future...cross your fingers this is as cold as it gets!!
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