Hen is molting and its freezing

Biddybot

Chirping
Aug 4, 2018
151
304
94
HRM, Nova Scotia, Canada
One of my brown-egg-layers had a phenomenally hard molt just this past late fall/early winter and dropped virtually all her bodily, flight and tail feathers all at once. When her new feathers started growing in, she looked for a while like a porcupine and it was getting down to freezing on occasion at night. She coped with the cold by climbing into a nest box to sleep at night instead of hopping up the chicken ladder to her usual perch (I padded one of the boxes with extra straw for her, which she appreciated, I believe) and if it was too windy and frigid outside during the day, she would just stay indoors in the pen instead of joining her flock-mates in the run or while out foraging. In other words, she looked after herself just fine, and as long as similar molting birds are given the option of having a place to keep dry and out of the wind and weather and have a bit of extra shelter (ie. a warm nest box) into which they can retreat if they feel the need, I suspect they'd do fine too.

One other bonus of this particular hen's voluntarily removing herself from her flock at times, especially at night, was probably that she didn't present as tempting a target for potential pinfeather pullers either. As it was, I don't recall noticing a single picked on or damaged pinfeather as her new feathers were growing out. Happily, she looks great again now and is back in lay.

Only other thing I can advise one do with a chicken that's molting hard when it's cold is make sure they go to bed with a full crop every night, in other words, that they're getting their fair share of food. Pulling them aside a few times for a meal of mashed hard-boiled egg wouldn't hurt either. (Plus which it's always fun to have them in the house for a short time!)
 
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exactlyzac

In the Brooder
Oct 20, 2019
13
59
46
Chicago
I had a RIR who would do a hard molt in the dead of every winter. 2 Winters in a row, cold snap with temps that didn't even get UP to freezing, and she did fine.
Wow thanks for sharing. Did you ever hear her sneezing? It's snowing in Chicago and my poor Americauna is half naked huddled under the ramp to the coop, and I've heard her sneeze a couple times.

I'm really tempted to bring her inside the next couple days till the cold snap passes
 

exactlyzac

In the Brooder
Oct 20, 2019
13
59
46
Chicago
One of my brown-egg-layers had a phenomenally hard molt just this past late fall/early winter and dropped virtually all her bodily, flight and tail feathers all at once. When her new feathers started growing in, she looked for a while like a porcupine and it was getting down to freezing on occasion at night. She coped with the cold by climbing into a nest box to sleep at night instead of hopping up the chicken ladder to her usual perch (I padded one of the boxes with extra straw for her, which she appreciated, I believe) and if it was too windy and frigid outside during the day, she would just stay indoors in the pen instead of joining her flock-mates in the run or while out foraging. In other words, she looked after herself just fine, and as long as similar molting birds are given the option of having a place to keep dry and out of the wind and weather and have a bit of extra shelter (ie. a warm nest box) into which they can retreat if they feel the need, I suspect they'd do fine too.

One other bonus of this particular hen's voluntarily removing herself from her flock at times, especially at night, was probably that she didn't present as tempting a target for potential pinfeather pullers either. As it was, I don't recall noticing a single picked on or damaged pinfeather as her new feathers were growing out. Happily, she looks great again now and is back in lay.

Only other thing I can advise one do with a chicken that's molting hard when it's cold is make sure they go to bed with a full crop every night, in other words, that they're getting their fair share of food. Pulling them aside a few times for a meal of mashed hard-boiled egg wouldn't hurt either. (Plus which it's always fun to have them in the house for a short time!)
Thanks for sharing so much detail! Did you ever hear your girl sneeze while she was molting in the cold? Mine has a few times now and it's making me worry
 

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