Hens molting and -25 degrees

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by hisnice, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. hisnice

    hisnice New Egg

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    Dec 12, 2012
    My hens are all between 7-10 months old and 3 of them have started losing their neck feathers and some below their tail feathers in the last few days. They're in a house that has a heater so it keeps it at least 0 when it's -25 outside, but I'm worried about them losing feathers at the worst possible time (record cold temps in Chicago).

    I've moved the 3 to a small indoor pen I have which is warmer (40), but am I just being paranoid?

    And how do I tell the difference between molting and fighting? This is my first winter with this many birds (50) and they don't seem to fight, but I can't be sure they don't.

    Also, there are 6 guineas in the flock (that chase them first thing in the morning, but don't attack them) and no roosters.

    What do you think??
     
  2. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2013
    You know when they fight so no worries there (and there's blood). These symptoms are either a molt or over zealous rooster. With the absence of a rooster it leaves you with only the one option. If it were my girls I would have moved them to a warmer area as well. Warm oatmeal is a good treat in the morning that will both warm them up a little and give extra protein. The timing on every girl is a little different but it seems they tend to start in the coldest weather (way to freak us out, right?)
     
  3. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Funny you should say this... my Andalusian hen just started to molt on her head and neck yesterday- and its going to be just below 0 degrees F tonight! I thought, what a silly thing to be molting now!

    I think you did a wise thing moving them into a warmer area. Better to be safe than sorry. Not paranoid at all. Why let your birds be uncomfortable and possibly harmed if you can help it?

    I had a hen last year who for some reason was missing most of her feathers for a whole year. (it wasn't mites) I have since lost her to a predator, but she did fine through the winter with mostly no down feathers. I don't know how she made it but she did. I tried to put a coat made out of flannel on her, but she didn't want to wear it.
     
  4. hisnice

    hisnice New Egg

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    Dec 12, 2012
    Thanks for the replies. They seem alive and well and it's getting warmer (20F). :)
     

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