Inconvenient Moult Timing

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jul 26, 2008
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Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
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This is my 2nd year with my hens but this is their first moult. They are now 18 months old, so right on schedule.

I have 4 Black Sexlinks. So far it appears to a soft moult, but Im keeping a close eye. I've begun slowly swapping their feed to Cluck'n Good 19% protein layers mash. (Locally produced).

We are entering winter and already at night it goes down to -15/-20C, and in a few short months we will be at -60C.

I do suppliment their heat with a Kozy Coop panel heater and a Thermocube set to 3C, hen house is fully draft free with ventilation and the run is fully tarped up with Mil 6 plastic sheeting.

Any advice on how to make it through the next few months? I'm beginning to think I'll need a backup emergency plan to house multiple birds indoors if they don't have any natural thermal layering.

Has anyone gone through this before?
Make sure there isn't any condensation in the coop or run (sign of not enough ventilation). If you have a fancy thermometer that also shows humidity, see if coop humidity is close to the same as outdoor humidity, if it is, then you are good.

As to naked chickens.... I would definitely feed them the 19% protein feed.

Also, I would put a light in the coop, maybe coop and run... so they can have 10 to 12 hours of eating time.

If it gets any colder i would feed them a bit more fat and protein.

So.... freezer burnt salmon, tunafish, whatever... mix a bit of scratch and whatever left over fat/good oil you have with some of the mash.
 

eekay

In the Brooder
Feb 7, 2021
23
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27
Alberta, Canada
That is definitely cold outdoors, but I would measure the temperature inside the coop before you worry too much about your molting chickens-- if your coop has no wind, you can use a straight temperature reading, and it is probably a bit warmer than outside even before you add heat.

If your coop heater is actually keeping it above freezing (0C /32 F), then the chickens should be fine even if they are pretty bare. And as someone else already pointed out, the new feathers do grow pretty qui

Make sure there isn't any condensation in the coop or run (sign of not enough ventilation). If you have a fancy thermometer that also shows humidity, see if coop humidity is close to the same as outdoor humidity, if it is, then you are good.

As to naked chickens.... I would definitely feed them the 19% protein feed.

Also, I would put a light in the coop, maybe coop and run... so they can have 10 to 12 hours of eating time.

If it gets any colder i would feed them a bit more fat and protein.

So.... freezer burnt salmon, tunafish, whatever... mix a bit of scratch and whatever left over fat/good oil you have with some of the mash.
I have been noticing the internal humidity going up a little higher then ambient via my remote minitor. I'm going to be adding some extra ventilation in the coming days.

Right now for protein they're on the 19% mash and a healthy serving of soldier fly larvae. May take the advice of the leftover meats.

Light is also something to consider as it's the sun rises are 8am and sets at 430pm. This breed is a high production breed and light levels don't seem to affect their laying at all.

During the colder days we do give them more cracked corn with their scratch. They're more mature and slightly more plump this season so they may fare a little better.

I'm not doing deep litter as the hen house is not overly big (about 2.5' x 4' x 2.5') so we're using hemp bedding and changing it out weekly.

They did really well last winter , where the coldest it got in the hen house was -16C and that wasn't true temp as the sensor is mounted on the wall and not near the heat panel. Only one chicken had some minor frost bite. There were only two days where we had to keep them locked inside until around noon when it was warmest. The only saving grace really was that we have a very stable power grid (not a single outage in 6 years) , hoping that will continue. I honestly don't think they would survive a night at -60C without a heat source.
 

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