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Snow.. Molt... Help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by fushalilly, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. fushalilly

    fushalilly Songster

    Mar 9, 2008
    Rhode Island
    This is my first snow with chickens. Here in new england we have about 2 feet of snow and its still coming down. I locked the girls in the coop with water and food for the day until it stops snowing. Ive got 3 Barred rock hens. I went to put vaseline on there combs for frost bite protection and one of my girls has almost NO featers on her neck and face and head! I noticed that there are small feahers coming out of the shafts where they fell out, so is this a molt? Why havent my other chickens started molting? And why does it have to be during the coldest week in the year!? What should I do to protect her??? Helllppp.

  2. lalaland

    lalaland Crowing

    Sep 26, 2008
    Pine County MN
    It is definitely trying when they decide to molt in the cold! What are the temps in your coop?

    Barred rocks are a "heavy" breed, and are well suited to handle winter temps, even when molting. Draft-free coop is important - add a little more corn so she can generate heat easily. Keep the feed well stocked - chickens locked in the coop eat more, and cold weather requires what seems to me to be about 3 - 4 times what they eat normally.

    I'm sure somewhere on this site is a posting of extra treats for molting hens - takes a lot of protein to replace those ffeathers!

    If you have electricty, you could plug in a heat lamp - hopefully with a red bulb, if your temps are below freezing inside the coop.

    Chickens seem to choose their own time to molt - same day hatches can still vary a couple of months in molt starting times and lengths.

    When you are worried that your hens are TOO cold, stick your fingers inside their feather coat (gently, don't break feathers!) and you will likely be reassured by how warm they are under those feathers. Even with bare necks, their overall body warmth can be surprising (again, assuming they aren't subjected to big drafts)


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