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Freeze warning and molting girls

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by motherhenfran, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. motherhenfran

    motherhenfran Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2014
    Hi guys! I live in Southern California so usually the cold isn't an issue here but lately it has been getting verryyyy chilly at night and the weather reports have issued a freeze warning. My flock seems fine except one girl (easter egger) who is molting. She's been going through her molt for a solid 5 weeks so she's pretty bald (all the new feathers still are growing in) on her neck and her stomach and back are mainly just her down feathers. She fluffs herself up to keep warm and is grumpy so no one will cuddle with her (she'll peck them in the face because the molt makes her moody) so she isn't getting any body heat. I'll check the other girls by reaching under their feathers by the wing or stomach and they are very warm but my EE isnt as hot. Should I bring her in at night? I know cjickens are very cold weather hardy but if my girl is freezing I want to help her

    Id love any advice! Thanks BYC!!
     
  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's been down to -15 here and I still have some molting. She'll be fine. Just make sure she goes to bed with a full crop.
     
  3. motherhenfran

    motherhenfran Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2014
    @Percheron chick what does the full crop have to do with helping? I'm assuming fuel to digest food and keep her warm but I could be wrong. This is my first time raising chickens (they're about 10months old I've raised them from birth) so im still learning :) but I doubt her crop is "full". She's been losing weight since she started molting. The other girls (and her when she's not molting) have their crops extended out they're so full at bedtime but she doesn't seem to be eating THAT much lately. Was debating giving her actual meat (fish or red meat) to boost her protein so he doesn't lose so much lbs and become weak
     
  4. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're correct. Digestion will produce heat helping keep her warm. It will be distended and lopsided when full. Some hens are just crabby and cranky throughout the molt. They do appear to loose weight because they aren't fluffy. Adding meat scraps is good. So is a handful of catfood.
     
  5. motherhenfran

    motherhenfran Out Of The Brooder

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    I havnt checked her crop lately but havnt noticed it being too full. The girls not molting on the other hand are a different story [​IMG]. If her crop is fairly empty at night so you recommend bringing her in? And I heard from my avian vet that her molt should have only lasted 2 weeks but after research on BYC and other sites it's normal for a molt to last sometimes up to 3months. She hasn't laid an egg since it started and I heard that is normal. Thanks @Percheron chick for the help :) my chickadees and myself appreciate it
     
  6. Cluckies

    Cluckies Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    She should be fine, I've had one molting for about 5 weeks as well, her feathers are growing in, she also lost all the feathers around her face and neck. We have barely had a day above freezing for this whole time. Get a higher protein feed, maybe a grower feed, i'm using the game bird show bird crumbles, at 24% protein. I also feed them black oiled sun flower seed hearts and dried meal worms every day and live ones every couple of days. Get the protein up for energy and to grow feathers faster. You may need to separate her just to feed her so she is getting enough to eat, the others may be keeping her from the food. Whatever protein she'll eat, give her as much as she wants.
     
  7. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If her crop is totally empty and she is acting strange (sitting in a corner by herself, not moving, not being active during the day, just wants to sleep all the time) then you might want to bring her in or take her to a vet, but not the vet who said her molt should only last 2 weeks (they don't know what they're talking about!). If her crop just doesn't look as full as the other birds, but it clearly has some food in it, and she's acting fairly normal as a chicken should, she'll be fine. We've had several birds doing hard molts this winter, lots of bare skin spots, with temps of 5-18F for weeks on end. They're fine. The suggestions of giving her some extra protein is a good idea.
     
  8. motherhenfran

    motherhenfran Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2014
    Just checked her crop while bringing in my roo for the night--it's somewhat full. Roughly golf ball size (it's midnight here). I felt the other girls' and theirs felt just about the same in terms of fullness so I'm guessing she can't be la king in food intake too much. She prefers to sleep by herself Id say half the time so her sitting away from everyone while she's sleeping isn't too odd. They are just about out of food so I'll just buy one with a higher protein ratio. They're on organic non GMO layer crumbles now so I'm hoping they'll have something organic with more protein. Also my dad brought some feed from our ranch animals (Wagners western regional blend..pic of ingredients below) and hopefully those extra seeds (they get black oil sunflower/flax,oatmeal,corn and oats for their scratch everyday) will help her also

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Cluckies

    Cluckies Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    That is the lowest protein feed i've ever seen. I don't think they even sell anything with that low of protein here, probably due to the cold. When they are molting they need way more than that, I would say 20% or greater. Growing feathers takes alot of protein, that is why they quit laying, they need everything they've got to grow feathers. I doubt you can overdue the protein when they are molting.

    Also, is your run out of the wind? she should be fine with only down feathers as long as she is out of the wind.
     
  10. motherhenfran

    motherhenfran Out Of The Brooder

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    @cluckies that was just a seed blend I was going to try with them. Their regular food has 17% protein
     

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