moulting right before record cold

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Trishkabob, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. Trishkabob

    Trishkabob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 30, 2010
    Schuylerville, NY
    we don't heat our henhouse and our girls do great in winter but we are about to have record cold (for Nov. in northern NY) and have one in full moult. Should I be concerned for her? We have 5 - one broody (no eggs) girl has been stubbornly sleeping in one of the nestboxes, 3 on the roost and the moulter sleeps on the edge of the nestboxes solo so she isn't getting group warmth.
    thanks.
    (p.s. is it "moult" or "molt"? :)
     
  2. PAChickenMom

    PAChickenMom Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 23, 2013
    NW Pennsylvania
    Mine are doing the same thing. I have a couple molting and it is snowing like crazy right now and going to be very cold here tonight. I'm worried because this is their first molt so I'm not sure what to do - our coop is not heated either but very well made and we have winterized it by putting a tarp over the run and the winter windows on. But one of my girls is so bald and she sits way off to the side of the roost by herself. And some are in the nest boxes when I go up to lock them up at dusk. I spend 15-20 minutes sometimes rearranging them and chasing them around the coop because I'm afraid they'll be too cold alone. Only to go back up in the morning and see poop in the nest boxes so I know they've jumped down and slept there. I didn't realize they would be molting this late in the year - some went through it earlier when it was still pretty warm out. Is there a temperature that is just too cold for them? I know since we are in NW PA and get the crazy lake effect snow that we picked chickens that were supposed to be in the cold - but how cold is too cold? And especially if they're molting and look like little plucked chickens you buy at the grocery store:(
     
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    I know some of mine are too, i am 18F right now windchill of 0, they didn't leave the coop today lol fortunately, they seemed okay, i tossed some scratch into the floor of the barn to get them active.
     
  4. Trishkabob

    Trishkabob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 30, 2010
    Schuylerville, NY
    PaChickenmom, I burst out laughing when I read your reply! I have spent those same 20 minutes "rearranging" chickens in the henhouse (which I can only reach into), which annoys them, and, obviously, makes no difference because they go right back to wherever they were (including the nestbox which is a drag). The whole time I'm doing it I am acutely aware of how absurd it is and what a farmer I am not; it's hard not to picture a wise old farmer shaking his/her head in disdain, muttering about "what things are coming to".
    In our case, the molter (one of the 2 elders) has been quite unpleasant to the three youngsters since they joined the pair in the summer. Now she is hanging out on her own (her one compatriot has been broody and insisting on being, eggless, in the nestbox; speaking of "rearranging" - we take her out several times a day to try to break her of it but no luck so far and it has been a month) and feeling vulnerable I suppose. They do, indeed, look plucked....only worse. Like a bad plucker worked on her. And when she shakes or flaps her wings a cloud of feathers appears-it's so pitiful. I guess the only thing to do is watch them and hope for the best. I wish I knew, better, what provokes the start of the molt-I thought it was hormonal in response to some light/temp prompt but it doesn't seem like that's working all that well. She is "older"...3, 31/2...not sure that's a factor.
     
  5. PAChickenMom

    PAChickenMom Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 23, 2013
    NW Pennsylvania
    That's so funny - I'm glad I'm not the only "rearranger" out there! In fact last night I did it again - and not only did I rearrange, but an hour later I went back out in the dark to check on them because it was so cold. We have a couple bald girls, but we also have 3 babies and they have been knocked off the roost several times by the older girls. So I worry about them too. And when I went back up one of the babies was down and perched on the nest box. I put her back up. I know I'm crazy when I'm doing it - but I just can't seem to help myself! And actually this morning everyone was still in place so I felt like my craziness helped them out.
    One of our girls was broody this summer too. We tried everything we could to break her but she just insisted on being a mama. So we let her sit on 3 eggs and now we have 3 babies. Well they're 11 weeks now. But I'm glad now that we did because one of them is a rooster and we just lost our big guy Thor last week. He was attacked and killed while protecting his girls. So now his son will take over. He has even started a pathetic little crow in the mornings that sounds more like a sick goose but he's trying! [​IMG]
     

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