Molting and Cold Temperatures

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bcmama, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. bcmama

    bcmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My girls are molting right now and we are having very cold temperatures, teens and twenties. It is approx. one year since they starting laying and I wasn't supplementing with any extra light so I know that triggered it, but I just went out to change out their water and noticed that one of my ladies is completely bald in the rear and has very little elsewhere and two others are missing most of their neck feathers just in the last day or so.

    What can I do to help them make it trough the cold or should they be fine? We did just add a heat lamp to the coop (right now), but I don't know how the one missing most of her tail feathers is going to stay warm. OR will she???
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Protect them from wind. Baldness is usually indicative of more than just most. Up protein in diet to well in excess needed for egg production. Show current picture of birds.
     
  3. bcmama

    bcmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think it is a protein deficiency. They are on 22% protein feed and its a high quality local feed. I have also been supplementing with a peanut butter, oatmeal, scratch suet cake, one a week along with lots of fresh veggies. All of the birds that are molting have pin feathers coming in, even the one with the bare heinie. They have all stopped laying except for one Barred Rock, queen of the roost, who is not molting. My two silkies had started molting earlier and one is done and now broody for yet the third time this season and the other has most of her feathers in.

    I added a heat lamp bulb to the hen house and it feels better in there. They are pretty sheltered from the wind if they stay inside the hen house which they do.

    Just didn't know if molting in snowy, cold, wintery conditions would be bad.

    Here are some photos I took today;
    This is the back end of the same bird below
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Poor Sunshine is missing most of her feathers along her neck, chest and wing section.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    My birds generally do not drop feathers like like those you have shown although one that layed particularly hard late into season does look similar and is now afforded more protection.. It does cause temperature stress when it is cold. The supplements, if consumed in excess relative to the quality diet, can cause a nutritional deficiency. Until feathers, especially on body, close up birds will have to work harder / eat more to stay warm and will not shed water if exsposed to rain. Keep them dry and out of the rain.
     
  5. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had birds molt late in cold weather and they had no issues from it at all. They should be fine.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Go play in a blizzard wearing only a tee-shirt. You can survive but report back on the experience. The bird in heavy molt is in a tee-shirt.
     
  7. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't force my hens out of their coop when they are in molt. They decide to go out on their own. They have everything the need inside the coop if they choose to stay in there. So clearly it does not bother them as much as it would bother us or they would choose to stay inside the warm coop.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I think they are more concerned about staying with the group than staying warm. If such a bird is not part of a flock in good feather then ranging habits will be more consistent with staying warm.
     
  9. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would go and check on them and see if they're shivering. If so, I'd bring them in, put them in a dog crate with warm bedding in a dark quiet place of the house (or garage). Maybe drape a blanket over the crate to block them from seeing any movement.
    If they aren't shivering, I'd let them be.
     
  10. bcmama

    bcmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No shivering. They spend most of the day up in the hen house currently and now with the light it seems much better. Here's hoping that their feathers come in quickly so they are comfortable throughout the winter. Where we live we typically haven't gotten snow and cold this early so I think their little clocks are off. Poor girls. Now they are cold and they probably itch like crazy having their feathers coming in.

    I was looking at pictures of other chickens molting on Backyardchicken.com. Mine look good compared to some. Lol
     

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