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freeranging, molting, shivering chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SurprisingWoman, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. SurprisingWoman

    SurprisingWoman Songster

    May 27, 2009
    South Weber, UT
    I got my chicks last May. We did fine last winter with no supplemental heat.

    My girls have been molting for months and two of them are still pretty featherless. They freerange. Last night our temps got down to 5 degrees with snow blizzard conditions. I didn't do any supplemental heat or anything and they seemed to be fine. It is only 13 today and the ground is covered with snow. One of my girls is out and is shivering and holding their foot up. I can tell she is uber cold.

    I have a black australorp with a huge comb that seems to be over her molt but her comb is still not back to its normal rosy hue. Should I be worried about frostbite?

    What can I do for my shivering EE?


  2. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Crazy birds, I wonder who scheduled their molting?

    I just make sure that they have plenty of water - usually warm from the house and good protein content food. I use hot water and pour it over my birds food, making a soup for them and they love it. I figure it helps be sure they are getting enough food and water. BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds), Safflower are both good treats.

    Some supplement heat - but that gets your birds use to an artificial environment - and if your power goes out (which ours does almost weekly it seems in winter) then what will the birds do for warmth?
  3. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    When you say they free range are you saying that you don't have a coop?
  4. fiberart57

    fiberart57 Songster

    May 31, 2009
    I asked myself the same question Knock Kneed Hen asked: Do they have a place they can get out of the cold and sleep at night?

    I'm in Western Colorado, just south of you, and it's cold tonight. Mine are inside their coop with a hot water bottle. Literally.

    To me, free-ranging chickens means roaming around during the daytime looking for bugs and other goodies to eat.

    Sounds like they need shelter. The coop thread has some great suggestions on how to rig up effective but inexpensive shelter for them.

  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Deep litter will help keep your birds from feeling so cold in the winter...my coop feels like it has a heater going in it when I use deep litter. Cozy and warm. My gals like to scratch around in it and lie down in it when we have deep snows on the ground. I throw some BOSS in there so they have something to do and to keep my litter fluffed and turned.
  6. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    I understood free ranging to mean they are not kept in a run, but that they did have a coop. [​IMG]

    I have a Del girly who is 1/2 bald right now with her molt, our temps the last three night have been a minus number - 6 being the lowest, our high 27. We have snow also. My birds free range but have a coop and when outside and molting will shiver a bit before the sun starts shining. Sometimes they all stay in the coop, but usually once trails are shoveled they are out and looking for anything new.

    I just make sure they have lots of food - and generally it is warmed with water. I also make sure they have warm water a couple times during the day and give them extra whole grain scratch.

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