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Help! Molt in winter???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by shotgunjustice, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. shotgunjustice

    shotgunjustice In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2014
    My girls are about 9 months old. My best and biggest later is currently in a hard molt. While we are experiencing warmer than normal temps now, forecast is to plummet in a few days. They are pastured, but locked up at night. She's still currently laying duck sized eggs, but I'm afraid that we will lose her to the cold. Ideas? Experience with such an early, untimely molt? I'm in the dark here. TIA
  2. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
  3. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Songster

    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    These untimely molts are quite common. If she is cold she will stay in the coop. Since she has roost mates, they are helping her keep warm at night. Give extra protein to help her regenerate feathers. Unless you see her actively shivering, she is ok.
  4. GAchickennewbie

    GAchickennewbie Songster

    Apr 2, 2014
    Northeast GA
    One of my girls is doing the same thing, shotgun. Her coop is dry with good ventilation, she has 3 flock-mates, and easy access to get in the warm sun.

    As stated above, extra protein will help. I use dry cat food (it's convenient since I have cats), but canned cat food is another inexpensive alternative.

    I'm sure more experienced members than I can give you more ideas.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Most molting birds stop laying...are you sure it's a molt, what breed is she?

    I had a couple of barebacked girls last winter with no heat, they cane thru just fine without any special treatment.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
  6. mortie

    mortie Songster

    Feb 16, 2014
    The Frozen Tundra
    If she is really molting, I agree with the above suggestions except the heat lamp. I have one molting and its in the single digits. As long as she has friends and a dry coop she will be fine.
  7. shotgunjustice

    shotgunjustice In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2014
    We think she's a New Hampshire. She lays the most gigantic eggs. I have checked for lice and mites and see nothing.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Can you post a pic of her and where dd you get her?
  9. ACH1980

    ACH1980 In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2014
    I just noticed one of my girls is molting too (I think). Her whole chest is bare and loosing feathers at an alarming rate. Does anyone know how to tell if it is something else besides a winter molt? She is eating/drinking fine and hangs out with the other girls. She seems to be acting fine so far - just shedding a lot of her feathers. Only one of my other chickens molted late this fall & hasn't started laying again yet. Any other ideas?! Thanks =)
  10. If she is really molting she should be full of pen or blood feathers like in the photo.

    If on the other hand her skin is bare there is another problem, like maybe depluming mites.

    A good diet with plenty of animal protein like was recommended above will help her grow

    a coat of new feathers that will be hard, strong, and shiny.


    One other thing, molting chickens are feverish and sore. If you wish to make your hens and roosters

    afraid of you and dread you picking them up, by all means catch them or pick them up while they are molting.

    This will condition them to run away from you.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015

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