Hard molt help


5 Years
Jun 23, 2017
Minneapolis, MN
Hi friends,

My buff orp Claire has decided as of yesterday that now is the best time to just straight up drop all her feathers off her body. It's a veritable mess of feathers everywhere! And it's 10 degrees outside!!!

I'm in a situation where I have some options but I don't know what the best thing to do for her is. This is her first molt, she was born June of last year. I just finished turning my garden shed into a nice big coop and my 3 pullets have been in it for the last couple weeks. Claire lives in a little prefab coop with her wyandotte friend Etta, they are the same age.

Should I keep Claire with Etta in the little coop until she's through molting? Should I bring her inside and put her in a dog kennel? Should I put her with the pullets so she has more bodies to hug? I was going to keep the older hens together until the pullets started laying, but maybe this would be too stressful for all of them(?).

The coop in the shed is walled off, so I could put a space heater in the shed to warm up the space. Is this a bad idea?

I don't know what to do for her. She's going to be nearly naked soon and it's way too cold for that.

Thank you!


Mar 20, 2017
New york
I wouldn’t recommend putting a space heater in because they will get used to that, and if it turns off they won’t know how to deal with the cold. You could try giving her a chicken saddle or sweater, you can buy those online, they might keep her warm


Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
Holts Summit, Missouri
It has been a while since dealing with that. I made so impacted bird has a tight spot with lots of dry hay or straw to burrow into. My old American Dominque cock has yet to start replacing tail or body feathers so he will likely be a barrel of fun in the same way you are seeing, but in December through January.

Gray Farms

Conserve Heritage Breed Livestock
6 Years
Apr 11, 2016
NW Missouri
As long as she is in a coop without a draft she should be fine. Some high protein feed will help her regrow her feathers in.

[email protected]

~ Dreaming Of Springtime ~
Aug 18, 2017
Caliente Nevada
I had a naked chicken all last winter. I put a saddle on her. In hindsight or in the future I will make a sweater out of a thick fleece. It breaths and hugs the body. The saddle was just cotton. Poor baby she made it through. She would jump up on my lap. I’d cover her with the fleece lap blanket I brought out for myself that’s when the idea of fleece came to my mind. It stretches somewhat and that’s what I’ll do next time.
And what is up with chickens molting right when it turns bitter cold...cruel joke by Mother Nature. I don’t get it.


10 Years
Feb 15, 2012
She'll be fine with her friend she's with as long as they have a draft free area to hangout when she gets too cold. Or I'd let them both go with the pullets if the pullets aren't too young. I wouldnt want her to leave her friend lonely.!


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Don't put 'clothing' on her.
It can interfere with feather growth and will be even more 'uncomfortable' than molting/growing new feathers already is.

Not sure why you've kept the pullets apart from the hens so long,
but I would not attempt an integration while a bird is in a hard molt.

Not sure what exactly to suggest.
How is she acting....eating drinking pooping OK?
@centrarchid's suggestion of lots of hay/straw bedding is a good one.

Is the little coop well protected from wind?
Does the new huge coop have an attached run that is weather proofed?
If so, I'd put the small coop inside the run for more wind protection and to begin the integration process.
Pics of all housing might help here.

ETA: good thing about a hard molt, is they usually grow feathers back quickly.
Provide extra protein, animal protein, to the molting birds.


Free Ranging
5 Years
Jul 26, 2016
Connecticut, USA
A higher Protein feed 18 to 20% like others have said is a good idea during a molt, in fact I always feed at least a 18% feed year round. My Golden Comets feather pick on 16% layers feed. My 31 month old Golden Comets molted over the past couple of months and I was feeding them a 18% Start and Grow feed and without any animal protein. But they also get limited treats. Oct 1 20181001_125456.jpg . Oct 22 20181022_090841.jpg . Hard to believe it's the same hen. Oct 23 20181023_101018.jpg . My hens and 12 week old pullets 20181030_050826.jpg are now on a 20% All-Flock feed. GC

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