Do chickens typically loose weight when winter sets in?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by posey, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. posey

    posey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2009
    Coastal NC
    I have chickens in two separate coops and runs.
    They are never mingled.
    I have noticed that most (but not all) of my chickens in both coops have lost weight.
    So much so that I can feel their keel bone.

    We live in the mid-south on the coastal plain. Our temps have been in the 50's during the day and in the low 30's at night. With the occasional warmer day or night. I don't suppliment the coops with additional heat all night long. We do have lamps with 150 watt bulbs that are one for about 3 hours each evening. They give off some heat but are mostly there for the light and egg production.

    As far as I can see they are eating well.
    Maybe not quite the quantity that they were in the summer but eating.
    I have been feeding them private label, high quality layer crumbles from a local milling company.
    Into the feed I also mix alfalfa meal and turmeric and oyster shell.

    Several times a week I make them a mash with hard boiled egg or oatmeal in it.
    Poos seem to be normal.

    I'm not much for treats but I have given them a small sprinkling of scratch and crimped oats in the runs, every other day.
    Mostly to give them something for which they can peck around.

    Any thoughts, please.
  2. ging3rhoffman

    ging3rhoffman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2009
    My girls are still holding their weight..maybe they need wormed. Hopefully someone
    else will chime in soon. There are all natural wormers out there that you can use
    and still eat your eggs.
  3. Feathered Wings

    Feathered Wings Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2008
    My Bantams typically hold their weight or turn into "Fatty's" do to me feeding them a little scratch and being less active due to the shorter days.
  4. posey

    posey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2009
    Coastal NC
    Thanks. I did worm them with ivermectin paste 3 weeks ago.

    I was afraid that you all would say that yours held their weight.
    Then I am dealing with something else but there are no visible signs that I can see, especially in the one coop. In the other I saw some mites during the day in the coop and run. They looked like chiggers to me and orangey-red color.

    We stripped that coop, sprayed it down with permethrin 10%, changed the bedding sprinkled Seven 5% on bedding and stirred it in. That was on Thanksgiving Day. I have seen only a few mites since.

    If the mites that I saw during the day are the same blood sucking ones that attack at night, would this cause the weight loss? But I have other hens who have lost weight who are in a separate coop and haven't seen any mites there at all.

    Are these the same as the blood sucking mites? How can I tell the difference?
  5. trilyn

    trilyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    East Syracuse
    No, those aren't mites, the little orangey red things you're talking about aren't the kind that suck the life out of your hens. For those, you need to lift up their feathers around the vent area and see if you can see little clusters of creepy crawlies around the base of the feather shafts. If you see those, ugh good luck and happy dusting! It is best to check at night time when they're roosting and apparently they crawl around more at night than in the day, use a flashlight and you should be able to pinpoint it pretty quickly.
  6. Feathered Wings

    Feathered Wings Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2008
    Yes Mites can cause weight loss, blindness if around their eyes and even death in severe infestations. Check their vents and under their wings if they are really bad you can see them around their eyes too

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