molting - will be 4 degrees tomorrow night

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by curiositykt, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. curiositykt

    curiositykt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2012
    Marlborough MA
    One of my hens is molting and it's going to get really cold tomorrow (it's 13 right now), low tomorrow is 4. I'm not worried about my full feathered wynadottes, they seem entirely unaffected by the cold, but my easter egger is down a bunch of feathers and the wynadottes begrudgingly let her cuddle with them. I could put up the heat lamp from when they were in the brooder, but I don't want them to lose their cold tolerance. I'm tempted to make my easter egger a fleece sweater, but I don't want the others picking on her anymore than they already do, and I'm not sure if it really would make a huge difference?

    She's already regrown her head and neck feathers probably to 80%, but she's working on the shoulders and body fluff. I'd say she currently has about 60% of her body feathers. (she looks so skinny in comparison!)

    I could bring her in for the night in a cat carrier as well, but would that also make her not acclimated, and get picked on more?

    The coop is this style : (the big one)
    with no insulation panels, but it's pretty snug in there. I ran out to get eggs the other night when it was 20, and they weren't frozen yet. (and had probably been laid that morning) The bottom is all wrapped in plastic. Their water is heated (hopefully it can cope with this cold snap as well!, this is its first test of real cold)
  2. bargain

    bargain Love God, Hubby & farm Premium Member

    Apr 13, 2008
    Bowdon, GA
    I would be concerned about reacquaintaince and others picking on her the most.

    Here's what I would do, I would plastic up all the side and leave the top of it open for ventilation for the cool snap. When LF chickens I find when I bring one out or change up the pen. The who's the boss pecking order starts in again, and so I really have to consider this.

    Also, I'd add day round food in there and up the corn ratio as it helps them stay warmer. Good luck.... Br......4 degrees ouch!
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It's sometimes surprising how well they cope with the cold. I've got two in full molt right now. It was forecast to be down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit last night and they were fine though I don't know how cold it actually got in my 8' x 12' walk-in coop. I suspect pretty cool.

    Personally I'd leave her alone. If she is otherwise healthy she should be fine. I assume you have good draft protection where she sleeps but good ventilation above her.

    If it helps any, a Turken (Naked Neck) has about half the feathers of a regular chicken yet they are considered cold hardy.

    This photo was taken when it was 4 degrees above zero Fahrenheit. It was down to (-)4 the night before. I leave my pop door open and let them decide where they want to be. They don't like a cold wind at all but as long as there is no breeze hitting them, they don't mind the cold.
  4. curiositykt

    curiositykt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2012
    Marlborough MA
    The mesh bottom is covered in plastic, and the top is open, should I put plastic around the wood part too? it's solid plywood so there aren't drafts coming in through it. While building it, I spent a thunderstorm burst stuck inside the hen house and it was quite comfortable!

    I'll be sure to give them extra corn and scratch. I gave them a suet cube yesterday to jump for, that should help with their body temperature.

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