January Molt?! Help!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Aimless Farmer, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. Aimless Farmer

    Aimless Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 25, 2007
    N. Central MA
    I think a few of my girls have started to molt! I have a small flock of 5 EE's; one is a roo. In April they will be 1 year old. They have not molted yet, before this. I started to see a lot more feathers in their small coop and around their snow covered yard this past week. It's making me very nervous, as it's still mid-winter here in North Central MA, and it's been COLD! Can I do anything to stop this process??
     
  2. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    I feel the same. Glad we have a heat wave right now [​IMG]
    I noticed my roo is missing most of his beard and the EE girl lost all her beard. I checked for bugs just to be safe. All looks to be bug free. We are in North cetral western mass so its the same weather for us. I worry the skin is going to get frostbite. We kept them in the during the below zero weather. I would not want to be a chicken in New England in winter.
     
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Nothing you can do to stop it, it's just their nature. As domesticated animals hatched any time of the year, they will moult when the time comes. I have a hen doing a good heavy moult now too. They will be fine.
     
  4. Aimless Farmer

    Aimless Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 25, 2007
    N. Central MA
    I worry they won't be able to retain enough body heat WHEN we get another freezing snap. Their coop is small, designed for them to be indoors only at night and outdoors during the day. Food and water are outside the coop. They have straw bales and snow banks as wind breaks, but many cold, windy days they hang out inside the coop or in their sand-filled dog house, and both places are out of the sun. I'm wondering if this habit of hanging out in the dark all day forced them into a molt. Or are winter molts common enough? How naked will they get? I've seen some molting chickens that looked aweful, like some giant labrador retriever mouthed all the feathers off! Am I panicking needlessly?
     
  5. pollysmum

    pollysmum Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 24, 2007
    Canada
    Seeing as you only have 5 birds... I recommend you get some BEEF .. tin CAT food... give them 3 large tablespoons mixed through their layer feed every morning..

    The extra protein will help them to re feather a lot quicker

    Keep them inside and out of the cold if you can

    And make sure they do not have any drafts hitting them at night time when they sleep

    If you can afford it and can find it ... Food Grade Kelp is also wonderful for any birds in molt.. add 2% to the dry feed

    Question: Did their food intake drop for some reason, lack of food, or change of food brand ? this can cause a molt
     
  6. Aimless Farmer

    Aimless Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    105
    5
    131
    Jul 25, 2007
    N. Central MA
    I think their food intake dropped when they started hanging out mostly inside the coop. Although my girls will continue grazing in a heavy rain, they find snow to be just so "icky". They don't want to walk on it, but they'll eat it. I did shovel out areas for them, and put down straw for them to walk on. Despite all this, they've spent much of the last month inside their little coop or inside their little dog house. In the dark. Their food and water are under the coop. I've been putting out scratch and alfalfa hay for them to eat, and putting some of it in the dog house, but I want them outside in the sun. I have given them cooked apples, oatmeal, corn meal, quinoa, squash...trying to get them to eat more. I notice they're really not eating their layer pellets much. I hardly need to refill that container. They stopped laying mid-December when the days dropped below 9 hours and 10 minutes of daylight. I was hoping that sometime this week, when we cross up into that amount of daylight again, they would start to lay again, but now with the molt...I just don't want them to freeze. I can get eggs from my neighbors until my girls are strong enought to expend energy into eggs.

    I will try the beef canned cat food. I have snap-type mouse traps in my basement, and was thinking of seeing what they'd do with fresh mouse. Has anyone done this? I've heard of other's chickens killing and eating mice. That's good protein. Our mice are fat on our birdseed!! Not to mention the squirrels, but don't get me started on them... They eat my chicken's food, too!! Might as well recycle the squirrels into chicken food, right?
     
  7. Chatychick

    Chatychick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    My coop is close to the goat pens and when I have frozen mice in the water they love it...they run around chasing each other for the mouse...they also catch them if they see them too...I dont mind mine having mice as long as its not a poisoned 1. I also add dry cat food to my chickens feed and they love it . The get canned also. Sounds like they might need the protein so they grow their feathers back faster. Just a thought
     

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