Missing Feathers and Frostbite?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickiemom77, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. chickiemom77

    chickiemom77 New Egg

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    I have five hens, two brown leghorns and three red sex-link. They started losing their butt feathers a few months ago, and I have two girls with bare-naked butts (from the vent down to between their legs), and can see signs of more nakedness in the others. I have dusted both the coop and the girls with poultry dust in case of mites or lice, see no evidence of pecking and no bleeding. They have a flock block to pick, and get zucchini and/or squash every day, plus millet and scratch grains as a treat. I was letting them free- range, but they started wandering too far into the woods, so I have stopped that for now. They are otherwise healthy and give me eggs every day.

    I'm concerned about them with this very cold blast we are having. The coop is draft-free, but not heated. The bedding is dry and thick. They roost together on one of the rafters and on a platform by the window. I may keep them inside the coop the next few days while it is coldest and not let them out into the run (covered with plastic to keep out the wind). I did buy a small electric heater, but it may not be big enough to do much good in the coop.

    Will they be OK without additional heat in the coop? Is the feather issue a form of molting, or something else? Do I need to put something on the exposed skin to keep them from freezing?

    Input and advice welcomed and thank you!
     
  2. MyPetNugget

    MyPetNugget Enjoying the cold!!!

    As long as they are dry and the coop has no drafts, they can withstand VERY cold tempratures. Especially since you said you have a few chickens. They will snuggle up and stay warm. You don't have to worry about letting them in the run - they will know to come in the coop if it's too cold. You do not have to heat the coop. I am not sure about the feather problem. I've heard that oyster shell will help with molting but I still don't know.
     
  3. Trishkabob

    Trishkabob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    hi chickiemom, there is a thread going on about molting and I think yours are molting as well. Weird to me that they molt as weather is getting so cold but I'm gathering that it isn't uncommom. your setup sounds quite grand and I'm sure they will be fine. We susbscribe to the no-heat camp. Too much danger of fire and how they would cope if the heat went out. Except for our molter, the other four have good thick winter feathers and I hooe hers get foing soon.
    Ours seem to come out (and range when we let them) in all weather except blizzards.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Holts Summit, Missouri
    You location is not indicated but molt is very likely what you are seeing. Keeping them in good eats, out of wind and in the dry should be adequate. Hopefully they will be in good feather by first of year when real cold hits.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I wouldn't confine them to the coop, esp when they're molting. Sounds to me like an invitation to start pecking each other from boredom. they'll be fine in the run, and they'll self regulate where to go. Activity stimulates body warmth, so allowing them to move around and bask in the sun will be good for them.
     

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