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molting in winter?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jesskoot, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. jesskoot

    jesskoot Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 22, 2009
    Central VA
    My Barred Rock has experienced a serious molt over the past three days - the feathers literally fall off as I watch her. She looked fine last weekend. This doesn't seem right since it's December, the temps are in the 20s and snow is expected this weekend. What should I do to help her recover quickly and stay warm? She is one in a flock of eight mixed hens. Any advice is welcomed!
     
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Increase her protein intake (BOSS, meal worms, yogurt, limited amounts of cat food, meat scraps from the dinner table) and get her a coat. There are patterns on here for no-sew chicken saddles using fleece. I can attest to their usefulness. I am making 3 new ones for some hens for Christmas.

    Good luck.
     
  3. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA
    That's not uncommon, I've seen numerous posts around here lately with people saying their chickens are molting at this time. Protein is the most important thing to have a successful molt and all the things that CMV said are a great way to make her get through it well. And cracked corn helps chickens produce heat in winter so that could also help to keep her warm.
     
  4. jesskoot

    jesskoot Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 22, 2009
    Central VA
    Thanks for answering - she already gets BOSS, meal worms and yogurt daily; I will try to isolate her for feeding to make sure she gets her share of the good stuff. Not sure about the chicken coat but an willing to have a look......
     
  5. chickendude

    chickendude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Dutchess County NY
    I am in cold NY and 3 of my RIR hens are in a hard molt. They look pitiful! I too increased the protein with boss.
     
  6. speedy2020

    speedy2020 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Just keep in my you may let her back in the a block couple hour a day. Otherwise, the pecking order will change and she may be picking by other hens.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Southern Oregon
    I had a BR do this a few weeks ago and just last week my BSL. Quite dramatic, like you said, fine one day, completely bald the next! The BR seemed to take a while to grow her feathers back in, the BSL is already showing good growth. Personally, I don't do anything different. The BR acted totally normal. The BSL is kinda hiding next to the barn, but she comes out to eat and just this am drove the young upstart roo away from the food----I'm thinking she's good.
     
  8. WilczenskiFarm

    WilczenskiFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2009
    Pembroke, MA
    I've been reading everyone's posts.... I have a barred rock in a hard molt starting a couple days ago, and having a hard time keeping the coat on since she has no wing feathers anymore. Should I bring her inside (crate her) until she gets through this? She's sleeping in the nesting boxes now, and won't roost with the others, so I suspect she won't maintain her pecking order anyway. I'm very worried. She's getting BOSS, and I'm picking up yogurt and meal worms today.
     
  9. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Quote:I hate separating birds unless it is absolutely necessary because sometimes re-introducing the bird presents challenges- like I had to re-home my best layer because the flock refused to accept her back. You could bring her inside, but I would be inclined to make a smaller coat with smaller wing holes before I did that. Your bird will have to be in the house for about a month to gain any appreciable feather coverage. By the end of that time it will still be pretty frigid outside and she will not be used to it, so you will have to acclimate her to the cold temps while also doing a re-introductions. Sounds like a lot of work. Do what you feel is best for your flock and yourself, but I think I, myself, would find another way.

    Good luck.
     
  10. dweder

    dweder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 12, 2010
    Glen Ellyn, Illinois
    I really wish I had read many of these suggestions......

    I took my molting hen into the house when she started freezing to death, and now I am faced with the flock not accepting her back. Quite a pain, will never do this again if at all avoidable. I am putting her in a smaller coop within the larger run, hoping they get used to her being there thru the fence for awhile. I will then, most likely, have to take the most aggressive hen out of the flock for a few days when I reintroduce her, hoping to knock her down a few levels.

    Huge pain!!!! I wish I had known about the jackets.
     

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