Cold and Molting

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by utahchickens, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. utahchickens

    utahchickens New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Dec 15, 2008
    I am new to raising chickens; I have four and a fairly large coop. I got them all about 2.5 months ago and they were bare on their backs. Since then two have grown in their feathers and two are still bare. The temp has started dropping fast and it is well below freezing at night.

    I am worried that they will get sick, frostbitten or even freeze. Should I do something for them? From what I have read, I am a bit concerned that the other two have not grown feathers yet.

    I would love any advice out there.
    Thanks
     
  2. Mrs.Puff

    Mrs.Puff Chillin' With My Peeps

    627
    1
    151
    Apr 16, 2008
    Southern Iowa
    The feathers missing off their backs are probably due to over-mating, not molting. Chickens are supposed to molt in the winter. They won't freeze. If they're super, completely bald back there, you might try giving them a light coating of vaseline on the bare skin, but this will probably get all over the place and make their feathers all slimy. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    Are they totally devoid of feathers, or are the pins still in there? If the pins are still in, they'll grow new feathers in a month. If no pins, it will take until they molt completely to grow back.

    Give the two baldies some dry cat food or meat scraps to help boost protein & feather growth.
     
  3. sunnydee

    sunnydee Chillin' With My Peeps

    556
    0
    139
    Jul 17, 2008
    Maine
    I guess it all depends on where you are and how cold it gets in their coop. My girls are fully feathered and do fine with an insulated coop with no added heat in Maine. I do have a infra red light for those really cold days, but they are fine in zero degree temps.

    As for their bare backs..is it due to a roo or is it molting?
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    126
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Mrs.Puff :

    The feathers missing off their backs are probably due to over-mating, not molting. Chickens are supposed to molt in the winter. They won't freeze. If they're super, completely bald back there, you might try giving them a light coating of vaseline on the bare skin, but this will probably get all over the place and make their feathers all slimy. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    Are they totally devoid of feathers, or are the pins still in there? If the pins are still in, they'll grow new feathers in a month. If no pins, it will take until they molt completely to grow back.

    Give the two baldies some dry cat food or meat scraps to help boost protein & feather growth.

    I agree, bare backs sounds more like feather loss due to a roo(s). I have two girls still moulting, but most of their feather loss is on their heads.
    I've upped their protein to help in the growth of new feathers.​
     
  5. blueseal

    blueseal Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,218
    40
    231
    Jul 3, 2008
    WALDOBORO MAINE
    i have 1 buff orp that lost feathers on neck looks all pinny looks like shes losing a few tail feathers too molting or roo only one out of 13 hens others are fine
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    126
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:That's sounds about like my girls. Not all of them moulted, only a few.
    Feather loss from the roo is more likely confined to the lower back area, although when my boys were young and inexperienced the girls lost a few neck feathers.
     
  7. blueseal

    blueseal Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,218
    40
    231
    Jul 3, 2008
    WALDOBORO MAINE
    yeah gritsar i have 2 young roos 6 months old there chasing the hens around all day mounting whoever they catch will this cause them stress and not lay all the time
     
  8. utahchickens

    utahchickens New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Dec 15, 2008
    I don't have a roo. When we got them they came from a flock with a very agressive rooster...too agressive for my kids. They were already missing their back feathers so that could explain it, but I would have thought they would have grown back by now.

    I looked at heat lamps the other day and because they are infrared they can cause burns. Is that typically a problem? How long can you keep the lamp on them? I would imagine that with feathers it wouldn't bug them, but bare skinned?

    They are not missing feathers anywhere else, just a roughly 3x3 inch patch on thier backs. I should take a pic and post it.

    Thanks
     
  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    126
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    If the feather is completely gone, shaft and all, it will start to grow back immediately.
    If the feather is damaged, but the shaft is intact they won't replace that feather until they moult.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by