Minorca in Winter - Help!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cstronks, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, I seem to have a slight predicament on my hands. In May 2013, I bought five birds from a local chicken keeper, 3 Buffs, a Red Sex Link, and what was supposed to be an Australorp. Turns out, this australorp is more of a Minorca. Slender build, white earlobes and white eggs, blue sheen in her black feathers, large comb, etc. I'm not necessarily upset about this because she is a great bird, but I am worried about how she will fare in the winter. She is currently experiencing a molt, and has lost a good amount of feathers, but still maintains most of her coat. Her comb is pretty pale, which I suspect is from the molt, but this increasingly cold weather is certainly not going to help. NJ is currently going through a vicious cold snap (nights will be in the 20s, and 9 degrees on Thursday night!), and I really do not know how she will do. I plan on bringing her into the garage overnight because it is about 50 degrees in there and I won't have to worry about her freezing in the bitter cold. During the day, she is PLENTY active. She eats well, she jumps around with the other birds, etc. She stopped laying in late October and then appeared to be molting a month later. Any advice is appreciated!!

    And please, this isn't the opportunity to say that it is not reliable to buy from a local person. She got the breed wrong, but I'm not blaming her, because I like this bird a lot. The breeder lived in central jersey, which is equally as cold as my region, so maybe she has minorcas that can live in the cold. Again, any help, ideas, expertise is appreciated! Thanks a lot!
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Pretty much the entire country is having temps you're describing. personally, I'd just Vaseline her comb if you're concerned about frostbite (honestly, I don't even do that) and let her stay with the flock. To me the stress on the bird of moving them and separating them from the flock is not worth it. She'll huddle with your other birds and they'll do just fine as long as you vent the moisture out of the coop.
     
  3. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good stuff. Even if she isn't winter hardy, is it ok to just leave her out there??
     
  4. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What is your coop setup?

    I am guessing that your Minorca will be fine in the coop with your other chickens. The only thing you probably have to worry about is her getting frostbite on her comb. Some people put Vaseline on the comb when it is very cold.
     
  5. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will put vaseline on the comb for the extreme cold to help prevent frostbite. My coop set up is pretty basic - 5 x 5 chicken house with an attached run. Made it myself. It vents well and does not have any drafts.
     
  6. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your Minorca should be fine. Maybe she can snuggle up between a couple of Buff Orpingtons. :)
     
  7. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is what she has been doing actually. She sleeps between a Buff and the Sex Link with her head tucked back to protect her comb. Good to know she will survive the frigid weather.
     
  8. lilmizscareall

    lilmizscareall Chillin' With My Peeps

    How did she fair??? I just bought 4 Minorca pullets... We had a HORRIBLE winter and now I'm worried! My Maran Roo did very well, but my Cochin bantam did get frostbite on his comb. I'm wondering if I should find them a warmer local and not risk it this winter?
     
  9. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hen did really well. She went into a molt around November which worried me, due to the feather loss and all, but she finished in January and has had a full coat since then. Her comb shrank during the molt, but didn't get frostbite. Now it is larger again, however I haven't seen any black spots or frostbite, just an occasional whitish look, but the color comes back when the weather warms up. I would close my chickens in at night to help keep them warm, so that also probably helped with frostbite. There was never any time where she was inactive or acting unlike any other of my birds, so I do not believe she was any more uncomfortable than any of the other birds I have. She did not lay any eggs though, and has been spotty since ending her molt. Anytime that it is below freezing she will not lay. Otherwise, she handled it and I'm very happy!
     

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