Why would my EE molt in the middle of January?!

Chick-InnKeeper

Chirping
Apr 20, 2020
46
95
56
Western NY
I've had young ones molt the first year on occasion. Sometimes they just do a partial molt, I've had a couple do a full blown molt. Also had some miss their first molt and look horridly ratty for an extra year. Mother nature has not read the literature to them. I've got a black sex link having a horrible molt right now too. The range of 'normal' is pretty wide. Just keep an eye on her, make sure she's continuing to eat and drink well.
Thank you for that. My chickens free range for a few hours everyday, unless they don’t feel like being out in the rain/snow. They have a large covered run and large coop. They seem happy and healthy. All the EE had a mild molt in sept. But this poor girl got it bad and a horrible time. Is there any supplement I could give her to help the feathers come in quicker or a protein snack to help keep her warmer? They all huddle close at night so she probably is fine. Thanks again.
 

coach723

Free Ranging
6 Years
Feb 12, 2015
6,196
10,496
611
North Florida
If you feed layer feed, then switching to a higher protein feed like a grower or a flock raiser will give them more protein, in the 18-20% protein range vs the 16% in layer. Just make sure you offer oyster shell in a separate feeder all the time, those that need the calcium will take what they need. I feed flock raiser to my flock all the time, I have roosters and older hens that no longer lay or only lay occasionally, they don't need the extra calcium in layer feed, and I think my flock does better with the slightly higher protein. I don't do extra for molting birds unless they are losing a lot of weight (molt can sometimes be hard on them), in those cases I will give them some cooked egg, or a bit of canned tuna to try to get them eating better, mixed in some of their crumbles mixed with water to make a mash. I make my birds a mash with their feed and water every morning, to them it's different and a 'treat' and I'm not watering down their nutrition or adding unneeded fat. They love it. I feed it in shallow puppy bowls or hog pans.
 

Chick-InnKeeper

Chirping
Apr 20, 2020
46
95
56
Western NY
If you feed layer feed, then switching to a higher protein feed like a grower or a flock raiser will give them more protein, in the 18-20% protein range vs the 16% in layer. Just make sure you offer oyster shell in a separate feeder all the time, those that need the calcium will take what they need. I feed flock raiser to my flock all the time, I have roosters and older hens that no longer lay or only lay occasionally, they don't need the extra calcium in layer feed, and I think my flock does better with the slightly higher protein. I don't do extra for molting birds unless they are losing a lot of weight (molt can sometimes be hard on them), in those cases I will give them some cooked egg, or a bit of canned tuna to try to get them eating better, mixed in some of their crumbles mixed with water to make a mash. I make my birds a mash with their feed and water every morning, to them it's different and a 'treat' and I'm not watering down their nutrition or adding unneeded fat. They love it. I feed it in shallow puppy bowls or hog pans.
Thank you! I will look into switching their feed. I always offer free choice oyster shells and actually gave them some scrambled eggs and cranberries the other day. I did make them mash when they were younger and they loved it, maybe I’ll get back to that?
 

Erin80

Songster
Apr 16, 2017
692
744
211
My girls often moult when it’s cold out. Last winter we had a serious cold snap in December (Ontario Canada), and my barred rock hen was almost naked of feathers. It was terrible. She didn’t want to sleep near anyone either because she was so irritable and sensitive. I did hang a heat lamp that she stood under during the day, it was well secured to the coop ceiling and we checked on them often. It was just so so cold that I’m pretty sure she’d have died without that little bit of extra heat! Poor girl. She moulted again in December this year, lol, another hard moult but maybe not that hard! It wasn’t as cold this year so she made out ok. There were 3 of them huddling in the coop moulting together this year.
 

MGChickenRanch

In the Brooder
Jul 25, 2020
21
79
46
A hard molt at that! She looks horrid. And cold. It will be in the single digits this week and it was almost overnight her feathers fell out. All of her pin feathers seem to be emerging, but my coop is not insulated and not sure if I should take any precautions? A couple of my other EE seem to be having a very mild molt also but barely noticeable. They are all about 8 months old. Any thoughts comments would be appreciated.
My 9 month old brown leghorn molted head and neck feathers last month but they grew back in very quickly. My hens are not stressed at all, I think it just happens when it happens.
 

Chick-InnKeeper

Chirping
Apr 20, 2020
46
95
56
Western NY
My girls often moult when it’s cold out. Last winter we had a serious cold snap in December (Ontario Canada), and my barred rock hen was almost naked of feathers. It was terrible. She didn’t want to sleep near anyone either because she was so irritable and sensitive. I did hang a heat lamp that she stood under during the day, it was well secured to the coop ceiling and we checked on them often. It was just so so cold that I’m pretty sure she’d have died without that little bit of extra heat! Poor girl. She moulted again in December this year, lol, another hard moult but maybe not that hard! It wasn’t as cold this year so she made out ok. There were 3 of them huddling in the coop moulting together this year.
These poor chickens! Wish their moults would happen at a better time...
 

MGChickenRanch

In the Brooder
Jul 25, 2020
21
79
46
Thank you! I will look into switching their feed. I always offer free choice oyster shells and actually gave them some scrambled eggs and cranberries the other day. I did make them mash when they were younger and they loved it, maybe I’ll get back to that?
I feed my chickens their own food fermented for 3 days (I only use starter grower feed and offer oyster shells in a separate feeder). They really love it! It is just their own food but because I bring it to them on a platter, LOL, they think they are getting a great treat! I also give them greens, hanging cabbage, meal worms and other great stuff occasionally. They get super exited when they see me coming with their trays of food or a cabbage. However, they always have access to crumbles in their feeder. They are really super spoiled. They also expect me to sit and cuddle with them for at least a half hour every day (they would like more time if I had it). Until I got my own chickens I had no idea that so many chickens like to cuddle. Even my leghorn who people say do not like it, is very affectionate.
 

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