molting and cold weather

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cposz, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. cposz

    cposz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2009
    Twin Cities, MN
    Winter will be here in MN very soon and our Australorps are molting in a big way. I have a couple of questions.
    1. Do we need to worry about keeping them warmer during the chilly nights (which will very soon turn into very cold nights?)
    2. I've read that adding some cat or dog food to their diet may help them to grow new feathers faster. This is CANNED dog or cat food, right?

    Any help anyone can offer is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. cposz

    cposz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2009
    Twin Cities, MN
    Bumping, hoping for a reply. Anyone?
     
  3. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    They are fine as long as they're protected from major drafts. I had a few molt in the middle of December last year here when it was very cold. I up mine to more protein during this time. Depending on what you're feeding now you can up to turkey grower (or flock raiser) at 18% protein, or go for game bird starter at 22% protein for a few weeks. I also make sure they get their BOSS morning and night.
     
  4. maizy'smom

    maizy'smom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2011
    Philadelphia suburbs
    I've never heard that one before, but I would think the dry food would be fine....even preferable. The wet/canned food would go mouldy faster and/or freeze, I would think. Dry cat food has all the proteins and fats you would be looking for, without the icky side effects. And most dry cat foods would have nice small morsels, similar to layer pellets, that might be more familiar to your birds.

    mm
     
  5. cposz

    cposz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Twin Cities, MN
    Helpful! But what is BOSS?
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011
  6. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    black oil sunflower seeds.
     
  7. dandydoodle

    dandydoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2010
    georgia
    What is boss??? My flock is molting also how long usually before they start laying eggs again. So giving them more protein will help??? Are you sure it is okay to feed them game bird food.
     
  8. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    I start all my chicks on game bird crumbles at 22% protein. I mostly feed 18% turkey grower pellets to everyone over 4 weeks of age with an occasional bag of layer at 16% protein (I feed it when they need more calcium than they're getting from the free choice oyster shell). I just went through a bag of 22% game bird crumbles for my flock this week. I've NEVER lost a chick after it's hatched (knock on wood) and I've only ever lost 1 adult bird and that was due to her falling off the roost and whacking her head on the table below her on her way down. I do not feed medicated feed either.

    Edited to add: the bigger the birds you have the more protein matters. I feel that the 16% protein layer pellets are really only good for leghorn sized layers (small birds). If you have rhode island reds, or jersey giants or anything larger I feel 18% protein is the best food for them. When they are trying to regrow feathers they use up a lot of protein, and thus I increase to 22% (also why I start my chicks on 22% - they're growing). That's what I do and it works for me.

    Some birds might start laying again a few weeks after they finish the molt. Others won't start again until spring until the natural light increases. I don't add light to my birds.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011

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