Mid winter molt

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sheeshshe, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. sheeshshe

    sheeshshe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens who will be 1 year old in March, are molting! It is 20* outside and they are frozen, poor things. They are all mangy looking with their missing feathers. Any idea why they'd decide to molt in the middle of the winter??
     
  2. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    The cold weather is what triggers the molt, so many chickens end up at least doing part of their molt in the really cold temperatures of winter. How do you know they are cold? Are they shivering? How bald are they? You can give extra protein in their feed to help them grow their feathers back faster. If they are shivering, you can install a light (just 60 watt or so, nothing too hot, but higher wattage depending on hos insulated your coop is) in the coop to keep it above freezing if they're shivering. You can also give corn just before bed time to keep their systems warm overnight as they digest. If they're not shivering and are not too bald (as long as you can't see patches of skin), I wouldn't worry about them too much.
     
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    It's not the cold that triggers the molt, it's the shorter daylight. I have several that have just gone into molt as well - sometimes they are a bit slow at taking the hint from the others. They will snuggle up to the others for warmth - nothing to worry about.

    They usually molt in the fall so they have fresh feathers for winter. Tattered feathers don't retain heat and cannot keep the bird warm.
     
  4. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oops, revising that in my brain right now [​IMG]
     
  5. sheeshshe

    sheeshshe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought that chickens don't molt that first year, apparently mine didn't take the memo LOL. That might make sense since I had the light on and then I turned it off for a few weeks while they had a dewormer med. maybe that triggered the molt in the younger chickens? the older ones molted like they usually do in the fall.
     
  6. nakstk

    nakstk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sheeshshe My 5 SS all started their molt in Oct they were 15 months old at the time. I noticed about a month ago that only one of my Wellies was laying then 2 weeks ago one my Wellies started molting. They hatched out April 25th. They are only 35 weeks old right now. The other one is holding out on molting ans still laying eggs. In fact she is the only one out of 8 chickens that is laying right now. I should have seen the signs when I noticed Daphne's comb was shrinking a bit and was less red. Phoebe's comb is still big and bright red.

    Good luck with your girls as long as they have a dry/draft free coop they will be fine.
     
  7. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    I have several in their first year that are going through a minor molt.
     

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