Molting in Winter? PIX

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rebbetzin, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. rebbetzin

    rebbetzin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2008
    Tucson AZ
    Is it normal for a chicken to do a heavy molt in the winter time? We don't get very cold here, but in a few days our nights are to be in the mid 20's!! Look at this poor thing compared to my other Barred Rock hen. And she pitches a fit when I attempt to pick her up. Does molting hurt? Her bare skin is visable on her underside and tail area. She seems to be in a very bad mood, she is my head hen.




    I have not had to put on a heat lamp in the coop since they were baby chicks back in 2008. I put a 60 watt bulb in the heat lamp, because I am thinking a regular heat bulb would be too hot since they are now able to roost a few inches from the heat lamp.

    Will a 60watt bulb be enough to take the chill off the coop? It is a very small coop. Will the light keep them up all night?
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
  2. smalldog

    smalldog Out Of The Brooder

    May 17, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    It does seem unusual for a chicken to molt in the cooler months, but believe it or not, this is normal. My buff orpington (Scarlett) has just completed a fairly major molt. She lost many of her feathers and looked about half her size without them! I could see her skin, as well, in the same areas you mentioned. She also did not want to be held or touched during this process. I don't know if the process hurts them but I definitely notice that she is stand-offish during a major molt. She's been through a couple of major molts already and I noticed that each time she behaves the same way. So, it must take a lot out of them. It is also normal for the hen not to lay eggs during a major molt. Her waddles can also become less red during this time. So, what you are discussing seems like a pretty normal situation. I have a barred rock hen, too, but she does not molt as often as my buff orpington. I hope this helps. Your chickens are beautiful.
  3. weedemnreap

    weedemnreap Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 19, 2009
    I was wondering the same thing but evidently so. My RIR started moulting in Oct. and is looking better but my black australorp just started last week and it's been COLD here - single digits. They are pretty grouchy. My barred rock isn't moulting and is running around in the snow like it's summer. She's also the only one laying right now so she's redeeming herself from her obnoxious, snotty ways! [​IMG]
  4. dldolan

    dldolan WineNChooks

    Aug 11, 2010
    Sonoma County, CA
    I just had my EE start a moult and I only noticed because she is quite a good egg layer and all of a sudden *poof*! No more mint-green eggs from her! After the third day I noticed she puts herself in the henhouse early (normally is next to last of seven hens) and tried very hard not to let me pick her up today. When I did get her, she squealed about it, which is not normal. Oh well.

    How long will it take for them to finish and start laying again, anyone??

    Thanks for starting this thread, rebbetzin! Good luck with your (undressed and distressed) girl!
  5. eenie114

    eenie114 Completly Hopeless

    My RIR Jane molted in February last year. [​IMG] Didn't have the sense to do it in Otober with the rest, when it was still nice. Honestly! Redheads are supposed to be smart!
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    That's not too bad, here's mine.

    They will be fine in the cold, they snuggle up to the other chickens at night. And the feathers grow back in pretty fast. My girl is all feathered back in now, she's still growing her tail feathers in though.
  7. rebbetzin

    rebbetzin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2008
    Tucson AZ
    Quote:That is one sad looking chicken!!

    Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I will just have to be patient. I did notice one of the new chicks cuddling up to my molting one last night on the roost. This head hen would usually just peck the dickens out of the new chicks if they get too close to her, but she was allowing it this time, maybe she was cold and appreciated the heat of the new chick?

    We're to get into the 20's here on Tuesday nght!! I am not looking forward to getting up early to go milking this week!!
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

  9. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I routinely use 60 and 100 watt bulbs in coops for various reasons. They work great!
  10. Churkenduse

    Churkenduse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2008
    You think your girls are bare? Let me tell you I had a hen that lost almost all of her feathers, I could not believe it one day she came up to me it was so sad.
    She was black and her skin was black also. She looked like someone tried to get her ready for dinner without culling her. A day or two later she was dead the fox made dinner out of her.
    I have 2 RIR's molting this week and they look terrible, I do not remember them ever molting just the polish and Lakenvelders.
    I have noticed that when they are molting they are easy prey since they appear to be sickly, the varmints go after them.

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