Molting in winter

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CCash, Dec 9, 2018.

  1. CCash

    CCash Hatching

    Dec 8, 2017
    This is my second year with chickens so they are going through their first molting. The problem is they are molting now, in December. I live in Maine and it's getting down to the single digits at night.
    Is there something I should do to help them keep warm as they shed their down feathers? I don't have a lightbulb in my coop and do not wish to add one due to fire hazard. I have been giving scratch at night to try and help.
    Will they survive?
  2. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Crowing

    Jul 26, 2016
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    I have a 32 month old hen molting. 20181130_084605.jpg It's 10 Fahrenheit right now. 20181209_070634.jpg . She snuggled up between the other two hens last evening when I locked up the coop after sunset. She was fine this morning when I opened coop at 5 am.
    I don't add heat to my coops. I use LED lights. 20181027_064733.jpg .
    I am currently feeding all my Chickens a Non-Medicated 18% Starter-Grower with Oyster Shells separately. I also have 16 week old Pullets. A higher Protein feed will help them to grow out new feathers quicker than a 16% layers feed.
    A 18% feed like a Non-Medicated Start & Grow/Starter-Grower, Hearty Hen layer feed, Feather Fixer. Or a 20% All-Flock/Flock Raiser feed will get them looking good sooner. GC
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    More than likely yes.
  4. Trish1974

    Trish1974 Araucana enthusiast

    Mar 16, 2016
    North Central IN
    My Coop
    Watch them for obvious signs of distress and act accordingly. Last December one of my australorps started to molt. It was a bad molt. She was 3/4 bald. Shortly after Christmas our temperatures dropped to 0 during the day, with wind, and nighttime temps in the negative teens. I noticed she had quit eating and drinking all together, and would just stand on one leg shivering with her eyes closed. Hours after bringing her in she started to perk up, eat and drink again. I kept her in a dog crate in my utility room for almost 2 weeks. Molting chickens do act weird, but just follow your gut if you feel they aren't handling it well.
  5. Naser

    Naser Songster

    Oct 29, 2014
    High protein diet and corn or wheat before they roost
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Good points...even a couple hours in a warmer place can 'reset' them.
    Have done this several times, I give a dose of electrolytes.
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I agree with the above adice, take a good look and keep an eye on her. I also agree, that a warm up, and then a return to the coop will often work. But an active, lively chicken is doing just fine.

    However, that is when they molt, and when they molt hard, the feathers seem to grow back faster. I had a white one once, that molted so badly one night, I thought snow had some how got into the hen house, when I realized it was feathers, I was sure she had been killed. But no there she was, nearly naked walking around.

    The cold did not seem to bother her, and she grew the feathers back fast.

    Mrs K

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