Shivering while molting

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mysterywriter221, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. Mysterywriter221

    Mysterywriter221 In the Brooder

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    My three year old hen, Nugget, was mid-molt when the temperatures started dropping. During the day we have temperatures in the high 60s but at night it sometimes dips down into the 30s. Tonight I noticed she was shivering when I went to lock up the coop.

    Is there anything I can do to help her keep warm without interfering with her feather regrowth? I don't want her to not have enough feathers to keep her warm because I knitted her a sweater or something.
     
  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Addict

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    We are often tempted to run a heat lamp or put a jacket on a naked bird.

    The best thing I have found is to give a protein boost and keep the coop dry.

    A sweater will irritate the new feathers a lot.

    Extra protein can be found in canned fish, cat food, lean cooked meats and starter grower feed.

    I had a Leghorn go plum naked in January one year with temps hitting a high in the low 30's. It was really hard not to bring her in, knit her a sweater and make her some veggie soup.
     
  3. Mysterywriter221

    Mysterywriter221 In the Brooder

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    Thank you!

    I was afraid a sweater might bother her new feathers but I didn't want her turning into a chicksicle. She and Pakora (my Jersey black giant who is also molting) don't even like being petted now and they normally love it. Before they started molting I'd get clucked at if I tried to leave the coop without petting them.

    I'll be sure to dig out some cans of tuna for them. I'm sure they'll be happy to have a special treat.

    If she was my Leghorn I'm not sure I could have been strong enough to not bring her in. I had to bring the late, great General Tso inside one winter because of an injury. First day indoors she dropped all her winter feathers. We ended up keeping her inside until spring.
     
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  4. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Addict

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    Canned mackerel is a better choice. It has less mercury and is higher in a few other things.

    I get mine from the dollar store. Wal Mart here charges $2 a can and the dollar store is a dollar of course. Exact same brand and size too.

    Oh and just 2 tablespoons a day is enough to boost her. It won't hurt the rest of the flock to have some too.
     
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  5. MysteryChicken

    MysteryChicken Crowing

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    You can add corn, it produces heat when digested, it'll warm her up inside, & outside. I give my chickens a winter diet of mainly corn since it gets really cold here in Michigan. They get treats here, & there.
    I recently have some chickens molting, they get a cup of flock raiser with their food for added protien.
     
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  6. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Addict

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    Corn is low in protein. It warming them up more than regular feed is a myth...old wives tale.

    They need higher protein when molting since that is used in making new feathers.
     
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  7. MysteryChicken

    MysteryChicken Crowing

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    Flock raiser is 20% protien.
    I found the corn thing to be true. It will actually cause heat stress on hot summer days, that's why other's say not to feed corn to your chickens on hot days. Corn low in protien, high in fat, & carbs.

    Corn is actually supposed to be used as an occasional treat, but that's not enough to get them through winter.
     
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  8. Perris

    Perris Crowing

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  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    Corn is something they will consume after satiated (becoming full) on a the nutritionally complete flock raisers (20% and 16%) I use during regular season and molt. They are first fed to meet essential nutrient requirements such as protein. The topping off with shell corn or wheat packs in additional calories they can use to compensate for increased needs related to heat generation. The corn does not enable more heat generated per unit time, rather it allows for longer duration of heat generation from food without tapping into body energy reserves (fat and glycogen).

    The consumption of shell corn or wheat when properly managed will not result in deficiencies related to protein or other nutrients. There are old wives tails on both ends of this argument.
     
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  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    I've found they'd rather eat corn than the feed...like dessert before dinner. :gig

    Most feeds are primarily corn anyway.
     
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