Thursday, October 30, 2014

Update on The Molt

Yesterday marked the two week mark since Coco started to molt.  In three days, she dropped nearly every feather on her body.  It's just brutal to watch a nearly naked chicken stager around the yard.  She was miserable and it showed.  She stopped talking and foraging.  And when she refused to eat treats out of my hands, I knew she felt just awful.

I set up a heat lamp in her run when I caught her shivering.  I put it on a timer to come on first thing in the morning and go off around 10am.  By that time, the sun has been up on their run for a while and the temperature is usually up above 65.  I also have it come on again in the evenings to keep her warm until she goes to bed. 

Coco was going to bed a good half hour before the other hens.  Which further told me she was cold and didn't feel well.  And in the mornings, she got up nearly an hour after the other hens.  I think she would have stayed in the coop even longer.  But she knew when she heard my voice, that meant I had come out with warm mash so she'd usually pop right out.

But this morning, I heard her out in the run talking long before I got outside.  All good signs that she's come out the backside of this year's ugly molt.

I figure she needs another two weeks before she's all covered and gorgeous once again.  But I'll take what she's got today because it's supposed to be cold and raining for the next two days.

Friday, October 24, 2014

I so dislike molting season

I really dislike molting season.  Mostly because of the way Coco molts.  Coco does the "Ugly Molt" meaning she sheds so many feathers, you can see bare skin covered in rows and rows of pin feathers. And she looks MISERABLE!!!  I mean, who wouldn't.  This year has been her worst molt yet.

She started molting on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.  The coop and run were covered with her beautiful black feathers.  By Saturday, she looked like the two photos below, bare back and sides.

Thursday, a week after she started to molt, she lost nearly every feather on her.  She's got a few new long wing feathers which she's using to try and keep her sides covered.

She also had a pin feather pulled out.  I don't know if she did it or if one of the other hens did it.  I have caught them pecking at her.  Probably out of curiosity to see what those pin feather things all over her are.  Anyway, that wound looks like it really smarts. I've been trying to put Vet RX and Neosporin on it but she wants nothing to do with me so I have to sneak out to the coop at night to treat her.

I did catch her shivering a few times so I've put a heat lamp out in the run for her.  She doesn't want to stand under it.  But if I put treats under it, she has to stand under it to eat which warms up her just a touch. 

I've closed up every window on the coop to try and keep it as warm as possible in there at night.  And it's surprisingly warm in there.  I'm sure the Buff Orpingtons don't appreciate it but I'm hoping it's temporary.

Below is what my beautiful Coco will look like in just a few short weeks.  I can't fast forward fast enough to get her at least covered in feathers.