1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Molting in Winter - What the Heck???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chicken Boo, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. Chicken Boo

    Chicken Boo Chillin' With My Peeps

    700
    3
    141
    Jul 16, 2008
    Glenn Dale, MD
    I am in MD and it has be quite cold here for a couple of weeks. I have a chicken that had surgery and is being kept inside until her feathers grow back in.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=421989

    I brought my 2-year-old production red, Virginia, to keep her company in the 4 x 4' pen. A day and a half later, I have red feathers floating all over the house. Virginia did not molt last winter and did not molt with the rest of them in October and November. Now she looks ragged and sad.

    A week ago, my < 1-year-old Sumatra and mottled duccle mix, Ms. Fancy Pants, also molted. This is her first winter. She is in the house as well since it is in the 20's and it is not supposed to get out of the 30's for the next week and she has a few naked spots.

    I have only been doing this chicken thing for about 4 years. I have not had anyone molt this late in the winter (the latest was late November). So, I have questions.


    Should I be concerned that I have chickens molting in the middle of winter? Does this happen because of something they are not getting in their diet? Were they "thrown off" by the new hen house with more windows?
     
  2. jdellosso

    jdellosso Out Of The Brooder

    44
    0
    22
    Nov 12, 2009
    Alameda, CA
    My guess would be that she is now much warmer being inside, and just like many animals, doesn't need her winter "coat". But, being fairly new to chickens myself, I don't understand why they moult when the weather turns cold...seems like it would make more sense to moult AFTER winter. Could be a "sympathy" moult!

    Saw your post of Fern's incredible surgery-that's a pretty nicely done suture job. Just out of curiosity, how did they remove the feathers before her surgery? Shaving them doesn't sound right, neither does plucking them out one by one. She's gorgeous, and you all are fortunate that you have the means to give her the best care. I'd probably do the same, never thought I'd consider our chickens part of the family but we do. Hope she recovers fully!
     
  3. Chicken Boo

    Chicken Boo Chillin' With My Peeps

    700
    3
    141
    Jul 16, 2008
    Glenn Dale, MD
    jdellosso - The doctor said "plucked" after they put her under. He feathers are growing back and are ~ half to a full inch now. I took a couple pictures the other day. I need to download and post the progress.

    I understand molting just before winter. That way they have the best and newest feathers, none missing, when it gets cold and they are ready for the energy expenditures of reproduction in the spring. At least, that what makes sense to me. However, the waiting until is it already cold makes me think something is off. Chickens do have a habit of doing silly things.
     
  4. Chicken Boo

    Chicken Boo Chillin' With My Peeps

    700
    3
    141
    Jul 16, 2008
    Glenn Dale, MD
    Fern's feathers are growing back.


    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by