Hens molting and -25 degrees

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

  1. hisnice

    hisnice New Egg

    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

    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

    Oct 8, 2010
    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

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

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