Molting in late fall?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by welovechickens, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. welovechickens

    welovechickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My 3 ladies are all 8 months old. They all seem to be molting right now! Do chickens usually molt in late fall? I thought they didn't molt at all until they were at least a year old. It's not extremely cold here, but we could have a few freezes in the next couple weeks. They are well-protected, but still....
     
  2. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Yes, it does vary for when they go into moult. I've had one moult in the middle of December here. I thought about knitting chicken sweaters for these oddballs, but she made it through just fine too. Cold and stressful, but they can get through this successfully.
     
  3. breezy

    breezy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine are moulting too. Looks a chicken blew up inside the coop. Silly birds are driving me nuts because I keep worrying about them. I dont have heat in the coop and the temp gauge I keep in there has shown the temps as low as 28 in the coop. So far no frostbite and no apparent damage but Im worried its just a matter of time.
     
  4. welovechickens

    welovechickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hung a red 250-watt heat lamp from the ceiling (it's a good 3 feet above the roost board) and will turn that on for the really cold nights....that should keep it at 50-60F so they won't have any frostbite. [​IMG]

    Thanks for the replies, btw. Nice to know my chickens are not too crazy! [​IMG]
     
  5. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You might want to try a much smaller wattage bulb. 50-60 degrees is much too warm for them. They need to be acclimated to much colder temps, and when they go outside, or if the power fails, it will be really hard on them. They won't develop and keep the nice down that keeps them warmer. I would put a thermometer inside your coop and aim for just above freezing (really they may not need anything at all!). You will also have much less chance of a coop fire, or burnt combs.
     
  6. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    I asked the same question recently, about my 30 week old pullet that had stopped laying and was molting. I was told that they go through a mini-molt around 9 months old or so. Their BIG MOLT is at 18 months.

    I knew to expect the 1+ year molt, but I had NO idea about the mini-molt for pullets! Perhaps yours are going through a mini, too? You can help get them through the molt faster by upping their protein rations, because those new feathers require a lot of protein.

    Another pullet of mine started a mini-molt. But after a couple weeks, I think both birds are nearly done shedding their feathers.

    I have not added heat to the coop, btw. They seem to be fine, especially with some extra protein to nourish them.
     
  7. welovechickens

    welovechickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not worried about my two big chickens...they have plenty of down and feathers. I'm more worried about my bantam. She's kind of a runt, and while she is fully-feathered, she just doesn't have a thick layer of feathers like the other two. Her comb sticks up, too, and I'd hate for it to get frostbite.

    I'll keep your advice in mind.....I do want her acclimated to the cold, but just want to keep her this side of any ill effects from the cold. [​IMG] I'll buy a much lower-wattage red bulb. I don't think we'll be using the light bulb much though....my dad said for us to order one of those flat heaters that gets to just body temp, and I think that will keep them unfrozen for the winter!
     

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