Is she MOLTING in winter? Help!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by btenbo11, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. btenbo11

    btenbo11 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 2, 2013
    I have a flock of 10 chickens. Temps get down in the teens at night and into the 30's and 40's during the days lately due to artic freeze. Just went out this morning and noticed one female RSL has lost feathers on back of neck and some on sides. I can see new feather shafts coming out of skin. She is the oldest of the flock and would be the first to start molting if this were the case. They are about 10months old. I always make sure they have fresh unfrozen water and feed daily. I have also put out extra because of the cold temps. The temp is the only drastic change that has happend lately I can think of. We do not have any extra lighting or heat in the coop and the chickens seem fine. Egg production has diminished by one egg, not bad for the girls.

    I am just curious if she is molting or having a premature molt? What can i do to help her or speed along the process? Should I get her a sweater or jumper since the temps are so cold? Should she be seperated from the flock to keep safe and warm. I love my chickens and they are a little spoiled :)

    Thanks for all the help.
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 24, 2013
    It sounds like she's molting to me. Many of my birds molt when they are 10 months old or so, and its normal for a chicken to molt at this age. Unfortuntely, most chickens do molt in the fall and winter.

    She probably won't need any sweaters or jumpers, as chickens are extremely hardy in the cold. As long as they are out of drafts and have a thick layer of bedding, your birds should be fine. I have a bird molting right now, and its getting down to around 10 F, and she's fine.

    To help with the molting, give her some higher protein foods. Game bird feed, scrambled eggs, wet cat food, and mealworms are all possiblities.
    1 person likes this.
  3. davemonkey

    davemonkey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2012
    Liberty, TX
    I'll second the above. I didn't think my hens would molt this past fall because they were "young" (about 10 months or so)...but they did. I got lucky I guess because the temps have just now started getting "cold" (for Texas) and they are all finished with the molt. We had chicks hatch and I started giving chick-starter (along with mealworms) to the hens as a treat, and I believe it helped a great deal with them putting in the new feathers.
  4. ronott1

    ronott1 Daily Digest Guru Premium Member Project Manager

    I have one that started molting this wee too!

    She will be fine.
  5. btenbo11

    btenbo11 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 2, 2013
    Thank u all for the info. Definately eases my mind alot.
  6. Herb in PA

    Herb in PA New Egg

    Aug 25, 2011
    One of my Leghorn that is 22 months old just started molting for the 1st time. I hope the cold does not get to her. Dear wife's boss thinks it is caused by some type of bacterial infection, feeling its too late in winter for chickens to molt.
  7. ronott1

    ronott1 Daily Digest Guru Premium Member Project Manager

    They molt in the winter. The older they get the more often they will molt.

    Up the protein for her--try 20% Grower feed.

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